The Board of Directors of Chiefs for Change, a bipartisan network of state and district education leaders, today released the below statement.
Children simply cannot afford a third year of disrupted learning. As a bipartisan network of school superintendents and state education leaders, we are pleading with every person in America: Please get the Covid vaccine. Follow CDC guidance. Help us keep schools open.
This nation has a moral imperative to give kids the education and childhood they deserve. Our network collectively serves one third of the students in the United States, and we have seen the toll that the pandemic has taken on children in particular. This school year, kids must be able to go back to the classroom without interruptions. They need to learn in person with their teachers and peers; spend time with friends; explore their own interests and talents; and discover how to understand and navigate the world around them.
The latest CDC guidance states: “Due to the circulating and highly contagious Delta variant, CDC recommends universal indoor masking by all students (age 2 and older), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.” We call on officials from across the political spectrum to reject destructive partisanship and enact and affirm policies aligned to CDC guidance.
As we have seen over the past 18 months, masking can help to slow the spread of Covid-19. But vaccines are how to end this pandemic once and for all.
Covid vaccines are safe and highly effective—including against the Delta variant. With very few exceptions, everyone over the age of 12 should be vaccinated now. Hospitals are once again bearing the immense strain of caring for unvaccinated patients who are sick and dying of Covid, and families are once again experiencing overwhelming trauma, grief, and loss. We must all protect ourselves and our loved ones. That is why we are hosting vaccine clinics at our campuses and will continue to do so.
The new school year is upon us. This is a critical moment. There is still time to prevent further disaster. Let’s come together as one nation—as we have at other trying times in our past—and do what is right for the sake of our children and our future: Get the Covid vaccine. Follow CDC guidance. Help us keep schools open.