For many students returning to school in the coming weeks, it will be their first time learning in person in more than a year.
In-person learning has rightly been prioritized to help students’ social, mental, and emotional well-being, to curb the digital divide that puts some students at a disadvantage, and to improve academic outcomes.
Yet, the new school year begins at a time when the Delta variant of COVID-19 threatens to drag us back to some of the darkest days of this pandemic. Children under 12 still are ineligible for approved vaccines, and sadly COVID cases are rising among youth in Maryland, who had largely been spared from the first phase of this pandemic.
Last week we learned that 151 new COVID-19 cases were reported among children up to age 19—compared to just 62 two weeks prior—according to Maryland Department of Health (MDH) data.
The science is clear that vaccines continue to be our best defense—regardless of age.
State data show that of the 1.4 million students in pre-K-12 schools in Maryland, about 315,000 have been fully vaccinated. But about 860,000 are under age 12 and ineligible for vaccination. To help protect those children, all the grown-ups around them need to do the right thing and get their shots.
President & CEO