LCPS to Require Student Athletes to be Vaccinated for COVID-19

Michael Delano thumbnail Michael Delano | August 31, 2021

An email was sent out on August 31 to the LCPS community informing them that all student athletes are required to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination for all athletes participating in Virginia High School League for both winter and spring seasons. The entire letter from LCPS Superintendent, Scott Ziegler, is below.

Dear LCPS Student-Athletes and Community,

Beginning November 8, Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) will require proof of a COVID-19 vaccination for all students participating in Virginia High School League (VHSL) winter and spring sports and for all out-of-season practices for the remainder of the 2021-22 school year. Any student who cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition or a bona fide religious belief will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test result once per week and before returning to play after an exposure to COVID-19. LCPS will not permit students who do not comply with the vaccination requirement or testing requirement for students with medical or religious exemptions to participate in school sports or related activities.  

The LCPS decision to establish vaccination as a requirement for athletic participation is guided by our desire  to protect the health and safety of all students and staff members. Student-athletes are a particularly vulnerable group who, as a result of their athletic participation, are required to travel to off-campus events and to compete against and interact with student-athletes from other schools. Participation in athletics creates a higher risk for exposure to COVID-19 and also increases the risk of exposure to their classmates, school staff, and the community. LCPS recognizes the importance of vaccinating our students and employees as a crucial step in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and minimizing any disruption to in-person learning. The majority of past COVID-related disruptions to instruction for our high school students have come as a result of exposure during athletic activities. 

LCPS will work with the Loudoun County Health Department (LCHD) to ensure all students who wish to be vaccinated have access to the COVID-19 vaccine. The requirement takes effect on November 8. This timeline allows unvaccinated students sufficient time to fulfill the participation requirement before the winter sports season begins. 

LCPS is committed to providing the safest learning environment possible for our students and this vaccination requirement for our student-athletes demonstrates our commitment to the safety of everyone within our schools and communities.  

While LCPS acknowledges this is a difficult decision for some families, it is a necessary step that we must take to limit disruptions to the learning environment, keep students safe, and remain in in-person learning and athletics.  We will share more information in the coming weeks about how to provide proof of vaccination and vaccination opportunities for students.

Thank you for continuing to support our students and staff and our ongoing commitment to safe, in-person learning and athletic participation.

Warm regards, 

Scott A. Ziegler, Ed.D.

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