The need for rational precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19 is real. Unfortunately, the Northam administration showed little regard for the devastating impact of extended lockdowns on schools, families, businesses and the economy overall.
Giving parents the option to continue in all-virtual, or to return to in-person, respects the rights of people to make their own informed medical/health choices. Unfortunately, our Loudoun County public schools appear to be moving toward a heavy-handed approach to getting kids back in school, at least as it pertains to the choice of which vaccines to receive.
Forced Vaccinations - The Not-So-Good News
To the dismay of many, state law allows the Virginia Health Commissioner the authority to declare prolonged emergencies and during the declared emergency, the religious exemption to all vaccinations on a 32-dose-list disappears. Those include diphtheria, tetanus, & pertussis and more controversial vaccinations such as hepatitis A and B. Under normal non-emergency circumstances, people are allowed a religious exemption to vaccinations.
Questionable Legality of the Proposed Local Change
The problem with this LCPS effort is that it purports to enable the local health department to order the enforcement of the entire childhood vaccine list without the religious exemption. Look at the last modification to this two-page document, whereby they're attempting to empower the Loudoun County Health Department, instead of the VDH Commissioner, to ban un-vaccinated students from school activities during an epidemic.
Agenda Item Details
Meeting: Feb 09, 2021 - 2nd Tuesday School Board Meeting 5:00 p.m. (Virtual Meeting)
Category: Information Items
Subject: Pupil Services Committee: Revision of Policy 8410, Immunization Requirements (Former Policy 8-51)
SUMMARY: The Student Support and Services (SSS) Committee of the School Board met virtually on Thursday, November 19, and December 17, 2020, to review and discuss the revision of Policy 8410, Immunization Requirements and the deletion of Policy 8-51.
The Committee reviewed and voted 3-0 to send the recommended policy forward to the Loudoun County School Board, as amended.
Unless otherwise directed, this will go to the School Board as an Action Item on February 23, 2021.
VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE: With a motion and a second, this could be moved from an advisory action to a final vote at the Tuesday meeting.
Some background on Virginia's Child Vaccine Religious Exemption
According to Virginia law, there is currently no religious exemption to the childhood vaccines mandate in effect, because of § 32.1-46. D. "The provisions of this section shall not apply if:
1. The parent or guardian of the child objects thereto on the grounds that the administration of immunizing agents conflicts with his religious tenets or practices, unless an emergency or epidemic of disease has been declared by the Board;"...
The only thing keeping all previously religious exempt children from being forced to vaccinate with the entire list in § 32.1-46 is that no one is enforcing this provision, but the LCPS policy proposal makes that enforcement action much more likely.
Please ask LCPS to delay action on policy 8410: details on how to provide public input are here...
Separately, but related, there is no religious exemption for the experimental COVID-19 "vaccine" if the Commissioner were to mandate it under § 32.1-48, though the COVID-19 vaccine has not yet been authorized for children under age 16 in the United States. My two pieces of legislation this session endeavoring to ensure that no Virginian is forced to take a vaccination were both killed by Democrat-majority committees, as was my similar legislation last summer. While many see the new experimental COVID-19 “vaccines” as a path to getting back to normal, others are less than excited to get in line for the vaccine. I recently was unsuccessful in passing a law to block discrimination against people who opted to not receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
I have also supported two emergency measures moving through the legislature to improve distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine for those who choose to be vaccinated.
As always, thank you for the honor and privilege of serving you in the Virginia House of Delegates. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions!