At a time when New York City students are engaging in walkouts over COVID rules, New York's Department of Health has stepped in to say kids are required to get their booster shot to be able to participate in after school activities.
Those who are eligible for the booster but have not received it yet will not be able to participate in after school activities.
The letter from officials begins by saying it's a clarification to the recent CDC guidance update for quarantines.
WHEC reporter Jennifer Lewke published the letter in a tweet, with the following section highlighted:
"Extracurricular or after school activities: Individuals 12 years and older who are eligible for a booster but not boosted, and who have been exposed to an individual with COVID-19, cannot participate in extracurricular or after school activities and, aside from school attendance for instruction and bus travel, must adhere to a 5-day quarantine at home. Fully vaccinated 5-11-year-old children are not eligible for a booster and have no further restrictions."
New York is going a step further than what the federal guidelines currently require. The current rules on the CDC website say those "ages 5-17 years and completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines" do not need to be quarantined. Further, the definition of "primary series" per the CDC is two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Lewke said school officials have reached out to New York's state health department for further answers.
Minus that one exception, the letter otherwise repeats what's previously been said about the newest COVID regulations for New York's schools.
This comes alongside this week's announcement that New York Governor Kathy Hochul is launching a #VaxForKids marketing campaign to push for further inoculation of all children ages 5 and up. The program does include a focus on getting kids age 12 and older boosted, as well.
This latest addition to the list of COVID regulations comes as the NYC Department of Education brought into effect a new series of rules this year meant to keep schools open despite the pandemic. It was a pivot towards individualized testing and isolation measures for students if they’re COVID-positive.
The backlash of this shift in strategy resulted in an uproar from teachers union members who advocate for remote learning methods instead.
Last month, New York University expanded their definition of "fully vaccinated" to include an additional jab beyond the initial two doses. A similar booster-shot mandate measure was announced by George Washington University around that same timeframe.