Anne Arundel County Public Schools employees and high school student athletes will have to prove they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing starting Nov. 22, Superintendent George Arlotto announced Monday.
“We still need to finalize some parts of the plan, but announcing an effective date now allows our employees and families of our high school students to begin to either gather the necessary information or become fully vaccinated by November 22 if they choose to do so,” Arlotto said in a news release.
He said the school system had been in discussion with the county health department about the model requiring vaccination or testing. Discussion began centered on employees but then they decided to include student-athletes as the number of COVID-19 cases and people in quarantine rose in recent weeks, Arlotto said.
Student-athletes already undergo health screenings to ensure they are fit to compete and the new requirement will ensure the school system can continue to compete in winter and spring.
“Vaccinations are the single most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones,” Anne Arundel County Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman said. “The goal of our collaborative efforts is to keep our schools open, and this is a key step towards doing exactly that.”
A process for submitting vaccination certifications and a weekly testing protocol will be announced by mid-October, according to the news release. The school system is also finalizing a contract with a vendor to provide the testing of unvaccinated students whose families provide consent to do so. Symptomatic students and staff can be tested in school health rooms.