Natick Enacts Vaccine or Test Policy For Grades 7-12 For Extracurriculars, Including Athletics

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NATICK – Starting this weekend, all Natick students in grades 7-12, those who have been eligible for full vaccination since the start of school, must be full vaccinated or agree to weekly testing, if they wish to participate in extracurricular activities, including athletics.

The Natick School Committee recently enacted the new policy.

Eligibility for participation in extracurricular activities including programs outside the school day, school and school club-sponsored events, and school-sponsored athletics, per the new policy.

“Subject to law, regulation, and standards established by the appropriate and legitimate regulatory body, the Superintendent may propose changes to district protocols for participation in extracurricular activities, including programs outside the school day, school and school club-sponsored events, and school sponsored athletics subject to the rules established by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. For the 2021-2022 school year, FDA approved vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 is required for all age-eligible students to participate in extracurricular activities, events and athletics that occur outside the school day,” states the new policy.

“There has been much upset from sports and arts groups alike as the mandate falls this week just as banquets are getting started and concerts are gearing up. There is no new policy or decision on this,” wrote Superintendent of Schools Anna Nolin, in an email to parents last night.

“By MIAA mandate and approval by local league and Dept. of Public Health, sports outdoors (unmasked) and indoor masked volleyball were allowed,” wrote Nolin.

“Events and practices in the arts with masks/PPE for instruments have been held,” wrote Nolin. “Indoor high school singing and events were held.”

“Indoor sporting with spectators for volleyball has been held,” added Supt. Nolin.

“At the middle school, however, we have not held indoor performances, since 50% of the kids are NOT vaccinated and were not eligible until this week,” wrote Supt. Nolin.

“Kids in MIAA sports are grades 7 and 8 and ARE eligible for vaccination,” wrote Supt. Nolin.

“We also passed a policy for staff and vendors that all would be vaccinated across the district. That went into effect 10/30,” wrote Nolin.

Supt. Nolin said “all of these factors have been phasing in and have been confusing people–it’s a lot to keep track of, believe me! I write to indicate that there is no new policy on anything but the policies for staff, visitors, and kids in extracurriculars has been enacted.”

“We have asked all sports banquets from the prior season to be held outside and have pushed back any concerts until all the vaccine and test documentation is ready – we anticipated this would be December 1,” wrote Supt. Nolin.

“At that time, since all kids in grades 7-12 will be protected by either testing or vaccination, we can (we hope) resume mostly normal audiences and living since the kids will be protected in some manner,” said the Natick Superintendent of Schools.

Vaccines for students in grades K-6 are happening today and Sunday at Kennedy Middle School.

Here is more on the new policy:

1. Age-eligible students

a. Students who participate in extracurricular activities including programs outside the school day, school and school club-sponsored events, and school-sponsored athletics are required to be vaccinated, except as outlined in b (below).

b. Students who are unvaccinated are required to participate in state-sponsored testing through Natick Public Schools or submit evidence of a weekly negative COVID-19 PCR test delivered on the same timeline and due dates as the Natick Public Schools program.

2. Age-ineligible students

a. Students are required to participate in state-sponsored pooled, test and stay and symptomatic testing through Natick Public Schools or submit evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test delivered on the same timeline and due dates as the Natick Public Schools program.


editor

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