HCPSS has stated that school will be open for in-person learning next fall and the FDA has authorized vaccines to be distributed to adolescents 12-15 years old.

By: Ada Wang

Staff Writer

Jessica Hill / Associated Press

In late April, HCPSS released a statement informing parents and students about the decision of opening schools for online learning. Students are able to request to stay at home and learn virtually but if they choose to do so, they must stay virtual all year round. 

In early May, the FDA approved the use of Pfizer vaccines for adolescents ages 12 to 15. Currently, thousands, if not more, of people in this age group have already gotten their first dose of the vaccine. Some concerns about the vaccine for adolescents have been addressed by pediatricians and immunologists, saying that the immunology of adolescents is similar to those of adults which may help alleviate some worry of 12-15 year olds getting vaccinated.

This approval by the FDA has aided in the decision of many schools countrywide to reopen for this upcoming school year. In addition, Pfizer has also released data from their Phase 3 clinical trials that show that the vaccine is 100% effective in children ages 12 to 15. Vaccines will also be distributed to pediatric offices to allow more discussion between parent and their child’s primary care physician about the concerns they may have and the safety of the vaccine.

 Furthermore, Maryland has committed to provide more than $1.2 billion dollars in funding for the safe reopening of schools, and for COVID tests, vaccines, and personal protective equipment. 

More than 99% of HCPSS staff have been vaccinated and now, 12 year olds and older can be vaccinated. With many of the students and staff vaccinated, the reopening and feeling of normalcy of going back to school in person should be slightly easier for parents and children worried. 

When asked about her thoughts, Senior Ana Coman stated, “I think it’s good that hcpss is going back to in person learning. The CDC said that fully vaccinated people can do any activities without masks, so it’s definitely safe to have school inside. It’ll be great for students’ mental health and make it easier for them to actually learn something. This year was not good in terms of motivation, and going in person can help with that. The 12-15 covid vaccine approval is also a step in the right direction because not only high schoolers can be in school, but middle school as well. Hopefully soon even younger people can get vaccinated.” 

There seems to be a consensus among people that have been interviewed about this topic that going back to in person learning when it is safe to do so is a good idea. Many people are just looking for a bit of normalcy and vaccinations and going back to school in person would really contribute to that.