It’s hard to believe (or maybe it’s not) that we are entering our third school year affected by the pandemic. Tewksbury students started last week with Covid mitigation measures in place. This year, per the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the school district has the following measures in place:
- Masks required indoors for students age five and up and are strongly recommended for those under age five
- Masks required indoors for all staff
- Masks required for all indoor sports
The mask policy will be revisited October 1 and, for schools that reach an 80% vaccination rate, masks will no longer be required.
Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is available for children ages 12+ with studies underway for younger children. Pfizer has been studying the Covid vaccine in children 12 to 15 years of age since July 2020 in a Phase 3 trial with about 2,300 participants. A Phase 3 trial determines safety and effectiveness while continuing to monitor side effects.
Additionally, Pfizer and Moderna have joined together to complete a simultaneous Phase 1/2/3 study in children ages six months to 11 years to determine if the vaccine can produce an immune response in children in these age groups and to determine if it’s safe and effective. In this group, Pfizer and Moderna are analyzing which doses are appropriate for the different age groups as well. This study has been underway since March 2021.
So how do Tewksbury students stack up on vaccination rates?
- 6m-11y: 0% vaccinated (no approved vaccine)
- 12-15y: 53% with at least one dose of vaccine
- 16-19y: 73% with at least one dose of vaccine
Until there is a vaccine approved for our youngest subset of the population, the most effective way to prevent Covid is to vaccinate everyone who is eligible to keep cases low in schools and in the community. The Tewksbury Public School District has 19 current cases of Covid as of Sept. 6, 2021.
To find a vaccine in Tewksbury, click here: https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/?zip_or_city=01876&q=
Sources: DESE Mask Guidance https://drive.google.com/file/d/113s-4j63VLm4ivrW88qi1mzi6MMP8Dsg/view