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Guilderland School District requires athletes to be vaccinated

By on September 26, 2021 0

GUILDERLAND – The Guilderland School District has joined schools in Albany, Bethlehem and Niskayuna in demanding that athletes in high-risk sports be vaccinated against the coronavirus to compete.

Football, volleyball and cheering athletes are due to receive their first doses of vaccination in Guilderland by Friday. However, unlike Albany and Bethelehem, Guilderland does not require students aged 16 and over to be vaccinated. Younger students who are not vaccinated will need to take a weekly COVID-19 test, the district said.

The Guilderland school board passed a resolution on September 14 requiring certain student-athletes in high-risk sports to be vaccinated. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines that certain sports could lead to the transmission of the coronavirus between players and, as such, those players should be vaccinated.

“This decision was made due to the high level of community transmission of COVID-19 in Albany County,” schools in Guilderland announced; he did not explain in the ad why students aged 12 to 15 do not have the same mandate. The vaccine is currently approved for ages 12 and up.

“Unvaccinated athletes in high-risk sports who are not yet 16 years old are required to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing in order to continue participating in their athletic program. Parental consent is required for student-athlete testing, ”Guilderland Schools said.

Guilderland said a student-athlete can apply for a medical exemption from the vaccination warrant “by having a licensed New York State physician complete the New York State Department of Health form.”

The majority of New York City school districts have not adopted vaccination mandates for athletes. Albany and Bethlehem were among the first districts in upstate New York to require athletes in high-risk sports to be vaccinated – a requirement that delayed the start of Albany’s football season because not enough players were vaccinated on time.

Dashawn Whittle, a second receiver and linebacker for Albany, recently told The Times Union: “It’s been really tough. We’ve been working a lot since the summer. To get our games postponed sucks.”

Niskayuna said in late August that all athletes in his two high-risk sports, football and volleyball, also needed to be vaccinated.

Albany and Bethlehem continues to demand that all intermediate and high school athletes participating in high-risk sports be vaccinated, also requiring that basketball and other winter sports athletes be included in its continued mandate.

Guilderland will also require basketball, ice hockey and wrestling competitors aged 16 and over to be vaccinated before trials begin in November.

The district also noted that the state’s Department of Education had advised that high-risk sports and extracurricular activities should be virtual or canceled in areas with high community transmission, unless all participants are completely vaccinated. “As long as the district remains in a high transmission zone, eligible athletes participating in high risk sports will need to continue to be vaccinated,” Guilderland Schools said.


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