D.C. mayor says adults in schools and eligible student-athletes must get vaccinated by Nov. 1.

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s announcement eliminates an earlier testing option for school employees but retains exemptions for religious or health reasons.,

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D.C. mayor says adults in schools and eligible student-athletes must get vaccinated by Nov. 1.

All adults and many eligible students will soon need to be vaccinated in Washington, D.C., schools.Credit…Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

Sept. 20, 2021, 6:20 p.m. ET

All adults and eligible student-athletes who are regularly in schools and child care centers in Washington, D.C., must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by Nov. 1, the district’s mayor said on Monday.

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s announcement eliminates an earlier testing option for school employees but retains exemptions for religious or health reasons.

Cities including New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago have also introduced vaccine requirements for school employees without a testing option. Such mandates became more widespread after the Food and Drug Administration fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in August.

In the Washington requirement, in addition to the school employees, student-athletes who are 12 or older (and therefore eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine) also have to be vaccinated to engage in “extracurricular athletics.” Student-athletes who turn 12 between Monday and Nov. 1 must be fully vaccinated before Dec. 13.

No coronavirus vaccines have been federally authorized for children younger than 12, meaning they make up a sizable unvaccinated population. Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Monday that their vaccine was found to be safe and highly effective in children aged 5 to 11. If the F.D.A. authorizes its use in children — an application is expected by the end of the month — millions of students could be inoculated in the weeks afterward.

More children have been sickened by the coronavirus since the extremely transmissible Delta variant became dominant. Children are still far less likely to become severely ill than adults, but many schools and districts across the country have closed temporarily because of outbreaks.

Federal guidance recommends that schools impose measures like masking and social distancing, and that as many people as possible get vaccinated to keep students safe.

At a news conference on Monday, Ms. Bowser said that “we feel very confident that our staff have really adopted and accepted the vaccine, for the most part.”

She continued, “It’s very clear, especially for our young people who are not eligible for the vaccine yet, that the best way to protect them is to have the adults around them vaccinated in addition to all of the other mitigation strategies that we use.”

The vaccine requirement will apply to virtually everyone who regularly spends time in schools, including teachers, coaches, principals, librarians, guidance counselors, bus drivers, security personnel, custodians and volunteers, along with student-athletes.

Public, private, charter and parochial schools are all included in the rule, as are child care facilities regulated by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education.

Ms. Bowser said that parents will not need to be vaccinated to drop off their children, but “schools might want to address their protocols where they don’t have a lot of adults lingering in the buildings.”

Apoorva Mandavilli contributed reporting.

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