NEW YORK — Success Academy announced Tuesday that middle school students will be required to have at least one vaccine dose by Jan. 31 or get tested weekly, and all eligible staff members must receive their booster shot by Jan. 3.

In addition, all students aged 5 to 11 will have to be vaccinated to participate in clubs and sports.

The charter school network already requires vaccines for high schoolers.

If school staff are not yet eligible for the shot, they must get one within one calendar month of becoming eligible.

What You Need To Know

  • Middle school students at Success Academy have the option to get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing

  • The mandate is already in effect for high schoolers, who are 87% vaccinated

  • School staff must get their booster shot by Jan. 3

Chief Schooling Officer LaMae deJongh says news of this mandate should come as no surprise.

“We have been really consistent from the onset that we know that the vaccine is the most powerful protectant against COVID and the pandemic,” deJongh said.

The charter school network has been offering on-site vaccinations and incentives to high schoolers for months and now it is expanding to middle school students.

"This is the only way that we are going to successfully navigate and keep everyone healthy and safe and keep our schools open," deJongh said.

The charter network has 47 schools across the city, with some 20,000 students.

DeJongh says it’s Success Academy’s duty to spearhead this effort.

"We're leading with conviction on that front," deJongh said, "and I do think it is not only going to benefit our SA community and all of our scholars and families and educators, but New York City at large."

That goal is shared by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said Monday that more young children need to get the shot to make our city safer.

"We’ve got to get more progress, though, with the 5- to 11-year-olds," the mayor said at his news briefing. "This is one of those areas where we need to move faster. I'm urging all family members: get your youngest kids vaccinated."

Success Academy will continue to do just that in order to keep school doors open. DeJongh says she isn’t worried about potential backlash, because parents know what’s at stake.

"Everyone wants to be in school. They’re really excited to be back. We see the growth academically, socially, emotionally," deJongh said. "We don’t wanna go back to where we were a year or so ago."

School staff will also need to get their booster by January 3rd. If they are not yet eligible for the shot, they must get one within one calendar month of becoming eligible.


Editor's Note: A previous version of this story neglected to mention that Success Academy will offer a weekly testing option for students that do not get vaccinated.


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