New York City public school students ages 12 and up will be required to get vaccinated in order to participate in certain performing arts programs, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday.
The new mandate comes weeks after the city said students playing contact sports would be required to be vaccinated, and includes chorus, musical theater, dance, band and cheerleading, among other activities. The requirement goes into effect immediately, de Blasio said.
The mandate follows state and CDC guidance, de Blasio said on WNYC.
“We’re talking about performing arts where folks are close together, close contact, lots of exhaling,” he said. “I want young people to enjoy these activities, but I want them to enjoy them safely.”
De Blasio defended the timing of the new mandate, coming days before the first day of school, on Monday.
“We have been moving with the information, with what's coming down from the CDC and the state, as we’re understanding where are the best places to put the focus in mandates,” de Blasio said.
He pointed to the rate of vaccination for 12- to 17-year-olds across the city, now at two-thirds.
“The vast majority of kids, its a non-issue because they're already vaccinated,” he said. “It’s extracurricular by nature. If a family doesn't think it's important enough to get their child vaccinated for this, they won't participate.”
WNYC’s Brian Lehrer noted that performing arts schools would be most affected by the mandate.
“LaGuardia High School, you hear that?” he said. “You’re all required to get vaccinated now.”