Vaccine mandate: The dose of normal that we need

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Assistant Opinion Editor Jeffrey Dratch believes there should be a vaccine mandate at Algonquin.

Jeffrey Dratch, Assistant Opinion Editor

Over the past almost two years, Algonquin has been far from normal. 

We have seen mask requirements, one-way hallways and countless other COVID-related restrictions. While all of these have made for a much safer environment for everyone in the school, it can all be avoidable if a vaccine mandate is put in place. 

After COVID-19 started to spread throughout the United States in March 2020, the country basically shut down, which led to a variety of related restrictions. As a result, Algonquin has been a very different place. All of these rules and restrictions could be changed if the COVID-19 vaccine is required for all students and staff. 

Like anything else, there is undoubtedly opposition to all three of the vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson), but the world would be in a very different place without them. If people keep refusing to take the vaccine, nothing in terms of COVID-19 cases will get better, and could even get worse.

At the moment, since restrictions and rules aren’t changing, Algonquin is stuck in a sort of  ‘gridlock’ where mask requirements are likely going to remain in place until a vaccine mandate is implemented. Nobody enjoys wearing a mask, but it is the right thing to do in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.

A vaccine mandate at Algonquin will create a much safer environment, a decrease in COVID-19 cases and an eventual lift of the mask requirement.”

The significant changes that were caused by the pandemic changed the way we saw the world, and disrupted everyone’s lives. The freshmen and sophomores at Algonquin have still yet to see what a normal Algonquin looks like, and a vaccine mandate could change that. It is important for all families to receive the vaccine in order for everyone to be safe from catching or being hospitalized as a result of  COVID-19.

In terms of the efficacy of a vaccine mandate, it would create a significant decrease in COVID cases. Cambridge public schools—a larger, more urban district with significantly more cases than Algonquin—enacted a vaccine mandate for students of ages 12 and older in early October. As demonstrated in an NBC News article, the district has seen a significant decrease in cases for public school students, and the mask requirement will likely be lifted soon. 

Similar to Cambridge, a vaccine mandate at Algonquin will create a much safer environment, a decrease in COVID-19 cases and an eventual lift of the mask requirement. We are very lucky to live in an area where everyone has free access to a vaccine, and it is extremely important for everyone in the school community to take advantage of that opportunity. Additionally, the effects of a vaccine mandate won’t just be seen in no longer having a mask requirement, but also in many areas outside of school. 

The overwhelming majority of students at Algonquin are healthy, but the decrease in COVID-19 cases as a result of the vaccine mandate would protect the immunocompromised students and their families, such as students who live with grandparents.

While it is a big task for school administrators to put the vaccine mandate in place, it will create a much safer, happier school environment, and will finally bring things back to normal at Algonquin.

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Do you think there should be a vaccine mandate at Algonquin?

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