In this file photo, Lucas Kramer, 7, receives his coronavirus vaccination at PS 65 in Stapleton. (Staten Island Advance)jan somma-hammel
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — If you have a student aged 5-11 in the New York City public school system, you can expect to start receiving robo-calls this week promoting and encouraging the vaccination of your child. Part of a multi-pronged outreach campaign in partnership with the New York City Health Department and NYC Health + Hospitals/NYC Test & Trace Corps, the Department of Education (DOE) initiative, which also includes the distribution of fliers, a schedule of virtual COVID-19 town halls and pop-up vaccination sites at schools throughout the city, is aimed at “keeping schools and communities safe.”
“The health and safety of our students and school communities continues to be our top priority,” said Chancellor David C. Banks, who is spearheading this effort. “Thanks to the efforts of so many families to get their children vaccinated, our schools remain some of the safest places to be during the pandemic. I’m excited to kick off this campaign and expand access to vaccines and information to even more students and families.”
The campaign will include a range of outreach efforts to reach families at home, providing information on vaccines via all of the DOE’s parent-facing communications.
Two town halls will also discuss the vaccine in-depth. The citywide, virtual events, which will both cover the same content, will take place on March 14 and March 16 at 6 p.m. Families should register in advance here. Dial-in details will be made available via the registration link.
“Vaccination continues to be our key to keeping COVID-19 numbers low and protecting our loved ones from serious illness,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “I am grateful for the work being done by the Department of Education, the New York City Health Department, and Test & Trace to ensure that our youngest New Yorkers and their families are protected against this virus, and I encourage every parent to get their child vaccinated.”
“I urge all parents to vaccinate their eligible children against COVID-19,” added Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi. “This new campaign will increase vaccine access and information to school communities, providing crucial resources to families as we work to keep children healthy and in the classroom.”
The cornerstone of this initiative is the roll out of vaccination pop-up sites at schools for students aged 5-11, concentrated in areas where student vaccination is lowest. First dose pop-ups will be held at 20 schools per week, over a period of three weeks beginning on March 21. Parents and families will be informed via principal letter if a vaccine pop-up is being held at their school, along with specific details.
The creation of this campaign comes after New York City lifted its school mask mandate for K-12 public school students earlier this week.
Children in younger grades — like pre-K, 3-K, daycare and other settings — are still required to mask up. Adams said that mask mandate remains in place since children in that age range are not yet eligible to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. A recent report by NY1 indicated that mandate may soon be lifted, but there is still no official word on when that will happen.
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