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Mandatory Vaccination Requirements

MANDATORY COVID-19 VACCINATION REQUIRED FOR ATHLETES

ACPS ATHLETICS VACCINATION REQUIREMENT

 

Beginning November 8, Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) requires student-athletes to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the winter and spring sports seasons as an additional safety measure.  This requirement applies to student athletes participating in out-of-season conditioning as well. An increase in positive COVID-19 cases in sports programs results in large numbers of students being paused from athletic participation and, more importantly, from classroom instruction.

Vaccination Requirement

Students who are participating in VHSL sponsored athletic events within ACPS who are unvaccinated and do not have either a medical or religious exemption will not be able to participate in team activities.  

Students who are not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine due to medical or religious reasons will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test daily or they will be unable to participate in team activities.

Submitting Proof of Vaccination

Starting October 25th student athletes can submit their proof of COVID-19 vaccination by uploading a picture of their vaccination card into their profile of the RankOne System   alexandriacity.rankonesport.com  .  Students may NOT bring physical copies of their vaccination card to the athletic office.

Exemptions

Is there a religious exemption? 

Students who are not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine due to religious reasons will be exempt from the requirement, but they will need to provide information to their schools.

Starting October 25, student athletes can submit the Commonwealth of Virginia Certificate of Religious Exemption form.  The form must be notarized and should be uploaded into your profile area of the Rankone System.

Students who are not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine due to religious reasons will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test daily or they will not be unable to participate in team activities.  

 

Is there a medical exemption?

Students who are not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine due to documented health or medical reasons will be exempt from the requirement, but they will need to provide information to the school. They will need to provide documentation of a medical exemption from their physician. Students can do this through a letter from their doctor (on the doctor’s office letterhead) stating the student has a medical condition that prevents them from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.  Please email julie.crawford@acps.k12.va.us for more information. 

Students who are not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine due to documented health or medical reasons will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test daily.

Deadline for Submitting Religious OR Medical Exemptions

The deadline dates for submitting religious or medical exemptions for Out-of-Season Conditioning and Spring Sports Season are as follows: December 15th, January 14th, and Feb. 16th. The exemption request must be received by the February 16th deadline for students to participate in spring season tryouts. *Exemption requests will only be reviewed once a month* This will allow enough time for those students with a medical or religious exemption to start testing daily to provide proof of their negative daily COVID-19 test so they may participate in tryouts.  As a reminder, students with an approved religious or medical COVID-19 vaccination exemption MUST provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test daily (this will be available at multiple schools). 

 

Out-of-Season Conditioning taking place after the spring season starts will have the following deadlines for review (once a month): March 15th, April 15th, May 13th, and June, 15th.

 

*All student-athletes with an approved exemption must stop by the athletics office to pick up their exemption card and give that to the head coach of the sport they wish to participate in. That includes out-of-season workouts and spring tryouts. This will show the coach why your Covid Vaccine form is marked as "incomplete" in Rank One, and allow you to participate with your daily Covid test pass from the clinic. If you wish to switch sports, you will need a new Exemption Card to give to the next sport/coach. Please remember, you will show up as "red" in Rank One due to your Covid Vaccine form missing. We are NOT allowed to share the exemption list with coaches, so you must pick up your pass to show your coach in order for them to be aware of your approval status.*

 

Timeline

Do students need to wait until two weeks have passed after their vaccination to participate in athletics?

A student is considered fully vaccinated if two weeks have passed since their second COVID-19 shot. However, as long as they have had their second shot by November 8 they may participate. 

Why the November timeline and why are fall sports exempt from the policy? 

Fall sports have already begun. It is too late to require proof of vaccination for participation in fall sports as this could negatively impact students who are already playing/participating.

 


 

Decision Making

Why did ACPS decide to mandate vaccinations for high school athletes? 

Athletics are deemed high contact activities with an increased chance for spread. Vaccinating student athletes adds another layer of protection against the virus, particularly as the majority of students do not wear masks while competing. 

Requiring vaccinations reduces the need for contact tracing by both the school staff and the health department. It will also greatly reduce the number of students and teams paused, thereby minimizing any time a student has to be paused from in-person learning. 

Was ACPS directed by anyone to develop this mandate? Why are you mandating a vaccine that is currently not part of the state requirements for school attendance?

VDH Interim Guidance for K-12 School Reopening

Instructs school divisions to prioritize educational opportunities over athletics, extracurricular activities, or other events in the school and surrounding community. Vaccinating our students is a critical step in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and minimizing any disruption to learning. The Virginia High School League supports ACPS’ decision.

Our goal is to keep students in school whenever possible. This action should both lower the number of COVID-19 cases stemming from athletic activities and reduce the time a student is required to pause.

The state mandates vaccinations for instruction where students earn credit. The COVID-19 vaccine is not included in the list of required vaccines for classes in which students earn credits. ACPS can require vaccinations for voluntary participation in activities where no credit is earned.

Who Is Affected

Why not require it of all students instead of just athletes? 

The state mandates vaccinations for instruction where students earn credit. The COVID-19 vaccine is not included in the list of required vaccines for classes in which students earn credits. We can only require vaccinations for voluntary participation in activities where no credit is earned. 

What about other VHSL activities including - Debate, Creative Writing, eSports, Forensics, Robotics, Student Leadership, Scholastic Bowl, etc.? What about other activities?

ACPS will require proof of a COVID-19 vaccination for participation in any other activity that requires a physical, including dance team and step team. We are only mandating the vaccine for those VHSL activities that require a physical and are deemed high contact activities with an increased likelihood of transmission of the virus.

Testing

What type of daily testing is required?

Students who are not vaccinated will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test on a daily basis. This test will need to be either a rapid test or a PCR test. Home testing using over the counter testing products will not be accepted at this time. If an exemption is approved, a process will be given to you on how to submit testing.