NAACP DC branch raises concerns about DC Public Schools' COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Is DC Public Schools' COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students 12 and older punishing Black students? That's the claim of the NAACP, which says requiring the shots unfairly impacts minority students.

DCPS says all students must have up-to-date immunizations on file with their school within the first 20 days of school, or they will not be allowed to attend classes or school activities.

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The President of the DC branch of the NAACP Akosua Ali is raising concerns. The civil rights leader told FOX News that worried Black students will be unfairly punished by the mandate because of reduced vaccination rates which would keep them out of D.C. schools.

The NAACP wants more remote learning options for unvaccinated students.

D.C.'s own data cited by DC Government says 100% of white children 12 to 15 years of age have received their COVID-19 shots, but only 61% of Black children are vaccinated.

However, last week, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser pushed back on the city's own numbers claiming the real number of unvaccinated students is lower.

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"I don’t think that number’s correct," Mayor Bowser says. "We have substantially fewer numbers of kids that we need to engage with vaccination, and I’ve explained why it’s important."

FOX 5 reached out to the mayor's office and the superintendent of schools about what the actual number of unvaccinated students was, but have not heard back.

Officials are encouraging families to take advantage of mobile vaccination clinics posted at schools. DC schools open on Monday.