DC Catholic schools must comply with district's COVID-19 vaccination rules for students 12 and older

Vaccination  of child, vaccine Ira Lichi/Shutterstock.

Catholic schools in Washington, D.C., are subject to a new COVID-19 vaccination requirement for children 12 and older issued by the district’s health department.

Under the rules, to attend classes in the coming school year students 12 and older attending all public, charter, private, and parochial schools in D.C. are required to either be fully vaccinated, have a medical exemption on file, or obtain approval for a religious exemption.

The district also has revised its religious exemption form to include a section specific to the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition to requiring parents to provide a written personal statement supporting their religious objection to the vaccine, the new form asks for the following information:

  • The reason “you do not get vaccinations based on your sincerely held religious beliefs”;

  • “The religious principles that guide your decision to not get vaccinated”;

  • A statement on “whether you are opposed to all vaccinations” and if not, an explanation of the “religious beliefs you follow that will not allow you to get the COVID-19 vaccination.”

Unvaccinated students would have 20 days to present proof of vaccination or the necessary medical or religious exemption before being removed from school.

The Archdiocese of Washington did not respond to CNA’s requests for comment. The archdiocese’s online school directory lists 17 schools in Washington, D.C. An official at one Catholic K-8 school located in the district told CNA that the school “had not yet received guidance” on how the mandate would be implemented.

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