Beginning November 8, Fredericksburg City Public Schools students will need to show proof of full vaccination in order to participate in athletics, out-of-season practices, and workouts. This requirement involves Virginia High School League winter and spring sports. It does not impact fall student-athletes.
Deputy Superintendent Matt Eberhardt made the announcement at the School Board meeting on September 13.
Student-athletes can request an exemption for medical or religious reasons. These students must submit negative test results on a weekly basis. Also, unvaccinated students will be required to submit a negative test before returning to play after exposure to a positive COVID-19 case.
Students who refuse will not be allowed to participate in sports.
“The Department of Education classifies athletics as a high-risk activity,” Eberhardt said. “The largest numbers of quarantines have come from exposure to a positive COVID-19 case involved with sports. Also, the largest numbers of linked positive cases have originated with athletics. These quarantines disrupt student in-person learning and impact other students when additional positive cases arise.”
Currently, 50.3% of all Fredericksburg 16-17 year-olds are fully vaccinated compared to 35.7% of 12-15 year-olds. The percentages of students who have received at least one dose are 58.1% and 47.7%, respectively.
FCPS held two in-school vaccination clinics on September 9 and 10 for students and is working with the local health department to schedule one more in the coming weeks.
The school district is also working to establish in-school COVID-19 testing for interested persons using the Virginia School Screening Testing for Assurance (ViSSTA) program. This COVID-19 testing is intended for school students, staff, and teachers and will be voluntary; only individuals who consent will be tested.