CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Centner Academy
A private school in Miami is requiring students who get vaccinated against COVID-19 to stay home for 30 days after each dose, citing false and debunked information about the vaccines.
The Centner Academy first made headlines in April for announcing that they would restrict any teachers who got a COVID-19 vaccine from going near the students. Now, with the Pfizer vaccine approved for kids aged 12 and up and clearance likely coming soon for anyone aged 5 and up, the school is applying a similar policy to students.
Parents received a letter from the school's CFO advising them to wait to vaccinate their kids, based on incorrect claims that people who get vaccinated can shed components of the vaccine and transmit the virus to others.
"If you are considering the vaccine for your Centner Academy student(s), we ask that you hold off until the Summer when there will be time for the potential transmission or shedding onto others to decrease," the letter said, WSVN reported.
The Centers for Disease Control has explained that vaccine shedding only occurs when it contains a "weakened version of the [COVID-19] virus," which none of the vaccines in use in the U.S. do. The Pfizer and Moderna shots are mRNA vaccines — which use a genetic material to teach the body how to fight COVID-19. In the case of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine, it is a viral vector vaccine, which uses a harmless piece of a virus that is not COVID-19 to create antibodies.
In the letter, they detailed the school's policy for vaccinated students.
"Because of the potential impact on other students and our school community, vaccinated students will need to stay at home for 30 days post-vaccination for each dose and booster they receive and may return to school after 30 days as long as the student is healthy and symptom-free."
In a statement to PEOPLE, one of the school's founders, David Centner, said that the policy "was enacted as a prudent precautionary measure" and repeated the debunked claims.
"Due to voluminous anecdotal reports in circulation on this latter topic, we must err on the side of caution when making decisions that may impact the health of the school community," he said. "Until there are definitive and scientifically proven studies that refute these reports, we need to do what is best for our students and staff."
"Our top priorities have always been our students' well-being and their sense of safety within our educational environment. We will continue to act in accordance with these priorities. The email that we sent to families was grounded in these priorities."
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In an effort to end the pandemic and protect people against COVID-19, several states and cities have enacted vaccine requirements for teachers and students, including the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest in the country.
Schools in Florida, however, are restricted from creating vaccine requirements or even mask mandates, with Gov. Ron DeSantis repeatedly fighting any mask policies in court.
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