Emma Liu '22
Throughout the course of this pandemic, we have seen glimmers of hope shine through. One of these glimmers is vaccine distribution. Since LM is attempting a four-day in-person schedule and all the teachers have been vaccinated, we should be focused on trying to get students vaccinated. With the lack of social distancing in the hallways and less spacing between classroom desks due to more students returning, students are more likely to be exposed to COVID-19. This high potential for COVID-19 exposure is dangerous for students and their families. Getting students within the authorized age group vaccinated is a crucial step required to slow the progression of COVID-19.
One of the biggest reasons students within the authorized age group should get vaccinated is because administering vaccines would greatly improve our chances of minimizing the harmful effects of the pandemic sooner rather than later. This is especially important if the school district continues the four-day in-person schedule for the rest of the year, since the new schedule causes more students to be in the building than the previous hybrid schedule.
In addition to driving down COVID-19 cases, students (sixteen years of age or more as of now, but trials are being conducted to lower that threshold to twelve) should get vaccinated because the long-term effects of COVID-19 for teens are more unknown than for adults. Without getting students vaccinated, it is possible that, over time, students could develop worse symptoms from COVID-19 than we have seen in adults. This is especially dangerous if many of these potential COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic as they tend to go undiagnosed. Since we do not know a way of predetermining who will be asymptomatic, all students should get vaccinated so we do not run into this problem.
Furthermore, getting students vaccinated would tremendously decrease the chance of a new variant of COVID-19 that would be harmful to both children and adults from forming. As the number of COVID-19 cases increases, the virus is given more of an opportunity to mutate. While more adults are immune to COVID-19 than teens, we are more likely to see variants of COVID-19 that are especially dangerous for teens. The potential for a new variant would then cause the number of teens hospitalized to increase, which would then cause the pandemic to take a turn for the worse.
Getting students within the authorized age group vaccinated is a critical step required to slow the progression of COVID-19 in the United States. According to a New York Times article published on March 29, 2021, if students do not get vaccinated, we could see new symptoms of COVID-19 emerge that could result in increased rates of hospitalization among students. In addition, we could see a new form of COVID-19 that would likely also result in increased hospitalizations for students. For these reasons, it is important that all students within the authorized age group get vaccinated by the fall of next year so that we can more quickly return to whatever form of “normal” is available.