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Zero hour in schools for vaccination against COVID-19

The secretary of Education deparmentEliezer Ramos, reiterated yesterday, Sunday, that the vaccination requirement against the COVID-19 for the students of the country’s public schools, so that, starting this Monday, those who do not comply will not be able to attend the campus in person.

“We hope that those who had not done it have come (to be vaccinated). The order remains in effect. It means that to enter the classroom they have to comply, those from 5 to 11 with the two doses, and those 12 years and older with the booster dose, if five months have already passed since the second dose “raised to The new day.

“Unless they fall under one of the medical or religious exceptions, (students) could not be coming to school,” he said.

Around 46% of students between the ages of 5 and 11 do not have the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and around 27% are not vaccinated with the first, on the deadline day for compliance with the requirement. vaccination to attend face-to-face classes in public and private schools in the country.

According to the data portal of the Department of Health, some 157,446 children between the ages of 5 and 11 have received the first dose, out of an approximate total of 217,059. Of that group, about 116,287 have the second, according to biostatistician rafael irizarrywhich analyzes the data provided by Salud.

The official indicated that on Tuesday the nursing staff of each campus will complete a census to know with certainty the vaccinated and unvaccinated student population. Education would also be discussing the available data with Health. In addition, he announced that it is on the table to allow students to attend classes in person with the first dose of the vaccine, “with the commitment to complete the second.”

February 21, this Monday, is the deadline set by the governor Peter Pierluisi, through executive order 2022-006, so that minors have completed their initial vaccination series as a requirement to attend schools in person. Initially, the deadline for minors to be vaccinated was January 31, but the aforementioned order delayed the deadline.

“I want to make it clear that the obligation is to go to the school in a physical way,” the secretary stressed. “We are making the exception given the circumstances. We recognize that there are parents who are still going to pediatricians, who are looking for that information that satisfies the power to authorize giving their child the vaccine and in the face of this we are being flexible, but the state does have the authority to activate that it be compulsory and the requirements for our students to come to campus, as has happened before.”

In the same direction, in addition to the initial series of the vaccine, all students 12 years of age or older -including university and technical degrees- must have, by February 21, their booster dose, if they already qualify for it. From that date, he will have 30 days to receive the reinforcement, once he is eligible. Until yesterday, 90% of young people between 12 and 17 years old had their initial series complete, that is, 197,697 out of a population of 220,532. But only 89,823, or 41% of that group, had their booster dose.

The Harvard University professor reiterated that the figures for all population groups are preliminary, until errors in the records of the Puerto Rico Electronic Immunization System (PREIS) are corrected.

For its part, Baerga Starpresident of the Private Education Association, was confident that, if parents decide that their children attend private schools in person, they will comply with the vaccination.

“From the first moment we have been promoting that boys and girls from 5 to 11 years old complete their vaccination, and those from 12 onwards, can have their reinforcement, we have promoted that they get vaccinated and we have had vaccination campaigns,” Baerga said. .

“After the deadline, no boy or girl who is not fully vaccinated will be accepted in our institutions and we will respect it at all times (executive order 2022-006)”, he added.

The Association -which represents more than 400 institutions from a universe of approximately 700- does not carry out an individual census to determine with certainty how many vaccinated and unvaccinated there are in its enrollment, but the president stressed that the feeling of the majority of schools and private institutions is that all students are vaccinated and can go to their classrooms in person, “because we know the importance of this for their academic, social and emotional development.”

“Each of our schools has its autonomy and if within the plans of that school is to provide a hybrid or virtual program, it is a decision that each school will make,” he said.

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