Elementary school board: 12-15-year-olds could get vaccinated this summer

Harper: ‘We would offer it but not pressure people’

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ROCHELLE – 12-15-year-olds in both Rochelle school districts could be eligible for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines starting this summer, Superintendent Jason Harper said at Tuesday’s elementary board of education meeting. 

The high school has already offered vaccines to 16-17-year-olds. Harper said nothing for younger students has been approved yet but the idea of vaccinating that population seems to be “gaining steam.”

“The state and county will figure out that rollout,” Harper said. “It could happen this summer with the Ogle County Health Department. We won’t push or mandate getting it. We’d be willing to help facilitate vaccinations for those who want it unless the board feels differently. 

The state hasn’t mandated vaccines for staff or students.

Harper said going into next year, families who want their student to continue as a remote learner must provide proof of a documented medical condition of the student or someone in the home.  

“Last year it was just up to parents and we were easy going,” Harper said. “We plan to have a greater percentage back. A doctor decides what is a medical condition. We’re waiting for more clarity and guidance from the state. We want to let parents know they have time to see a medical professional.”

Harper said summer school in the elementary school will be larger and more robust this summer than in previous years. 

“I jokingly say it’s summer school on steroids,” Harper said. “Longer days and more days. We’ll still offer transportation as we have in the past, but it’s a larger commitment for parents. It’s open to those concerned about learning loss in the past year.”

White appointed to board

After its executive session, the board approved Stephanie White to fulfill the open four-year board of education vacant position.