Success Academy to lift COVID-19 vaccination mandate for students

New York City’s largest charter school network, Success Academy, is scrapping its pandemic protocols for students, The Post has learned.

Starting this fall, the approximately 20,000 students in the network will no longer need to be vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19 and will be able to participate in most clubs regardless of their vaccination status.

“We remain steadfast in our overarching goal of protesting the health and safety of our community while remaining open to personal learning,” said a memo to families obtained by The Post.

The announcement came after more than 1,000 parents and guardians wrote letters and signed petitions against the mandates in a month-long campaign, organizers said.

“I would like to emphasize that we are staying with SA because of the high quality of the teaching and curriculum. The teachers and curriculum planners deserve recognition and compliments. That’s why we wanted our children to attend SA,” one parent wrote to school officials.

“From an academic point of view, our children have developed well. But from a social point of view, they were bullied and abused by the administration,” the parent said of unvaccinated students.

Two-thirds of the students, dubbed “scholars,” are already at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19, according to school data.

Gael Brown-Madrigal, 10, receives the first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages five to 12 at NYC Health + Hospitals Harlem Hospital, Thursday, November 4, 2021 in New York.
Other charter networks had not introduced mandatory vaccinations for students this school year.
AP Photo/Jeenah Moon

Success Academy, which operates 47 schools in the New York area, told The Post the network will continue to promote immunizations and conduct rapid testing in their schools. Staff must continue to be vaccinated against the virus.

School officials on Monday continued touting the network’s health and safety record during the pandemic.

“For public health reasons, Success Academy has arranged for schools to offer Covid vaccinations when the city has been slow to respond,” said Ann Powell, a spokeswoman for the network. “We have maintained a strict vaccination and testing policy during the most urgent phase of the pandemic. “

“Over the past year, SA has been able to keep all of our schools open and our positivity rate has remained consistently below that of the city with no evidence of transmission at school,” she added.

In non-state public schools, more than 60% of students have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the latest data.

But these numbers can vary from school to school. Some of the most vaccinated student populations, predominantly in Manhattan, have over 90% of children vaccinated against the virus, a Post analysis of city data showed. But at some schools, including several in Brooklyn, fewer than a quarter of students got their first dose.

Teachers and Ministry of Education staff are required to be vaccinated, with some exceptions. Unvaccinated employees are expected to have a shot at getting their jobs back later this summer – if they get the vaccine.

Other charter networks had not introduced mandatory vaccinations for students this school year.

“We have no obligation for students, but we encourage all families and eligible students to get vaccinated,” said Barbara Martinez of Uncommon Schools, a founding network with campuses in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

All teachers and staff must be vaccinated as a condition of employment on the network. Success Academy to lift COVID-19 vaccination mandate for students


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