Pennsylvania Education Secretary Noe Ortega said the Department of Education does not intend to require students and teachers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in order to return to school.
As reported by FOX43, Ortega said, “Ultimately, the discretions around the vaccinations rest with the Department of Health. It is not our intention to require a vaccine, but to leave that to the local discretion.”
You can read: Montgomery County begins vaccinating teens 12 to 15
Ortega also thanked parents and teachers for their proper response during the pandemic, and added, “folks need to make a decision that’s best for them, but also for others. So, I just wanted to leave that out there in regards to our stance on vaccinations.”
The Pa. Department of Health says they have no plans to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory, but it strongly suggests Pennsylvanians receive the vaccine to best prevent contracting the coronavirus.
Currently, the only FDA COVID-19 vaccine with emergency use authorization for those below age 16 is the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which is approved for those ages 12-15.
Closer to normalcy
“Today’s action allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic. Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations,” Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a statement.
Ortega, who was named acting Secretary of Education in October 2020, also spoke about the concerns over teacher burnout and students dropping out altogether. He also discussed the future of remote learning when classes resume this fall.