Fact Sheet: Biden Administration Announces Additional Actions to Help Kids Go Back to School Safely
Over the next six weeks, more than 50 million students will head back to school, and more than 20 million students will return to undergraduate and graduate studies. For young people, getting vaccinated right away is the best way back to the things they love – like playing sports, completing their studies, and spending time with friends and loved ones. Today, the Biden Administration announced additional actions to get students ages 12 and above vaccinated and to ensure all students can go back to school safely this fall:
Today, the Administration is highlighting the following efforts to get more young people vaccinated:
- Incorporating COVID-19 vaccination into sports physicals for student athletes this summer and fall: Today, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM), and ten other sports and medicine organizations are issuing a consensus statement to all their members urging all medical providers to ask about COVID-19 vaccine status during sports physicals, and where available to also administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Both AAP and AMSSM have issued updated guidance for physicians incorporating COVID-19 vaccination into sports physical protocols, and AAP has issued revised forms for doctors, parents, and student athletes to use to document their pre-participation examination including language on COVID-19 vaccination. The AAP estimates that approximately 60 to 70 percent of children and adolescents participate in organized sports across the country. Each year, millions of these student athletes receive a pre-participation exam, also known as a sports physical, in order to participate. This action will help elevate the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 as a key part of safe competitive play. The organizations signing onto the consensus statement are:
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Academy of Family Physicians
- American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
- American College of Emergency Physicians
- American College of Sports Medicine
- American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
- American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
- American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine
- National Athletic Trainers’ Association
- National Federation of State High School Associations
- National Collegiate Athletic Association
- U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee
- Sending pediatricians to ‘Back to School Nights’ to get communities vaccinated against COVID-19: The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is calling on its 22,000 local member PTAs and parent leaders nationwide to host community conversations about getting vaccinated at Back to School parent meetings this summer and fall. National PTA will partner with the American Academy of Pediatrics to deploy local pediatricians to be a part of these Back to School parent meetings, so parents can have their questions answered by doctors who know and treat their children. AAP will also produce digital materials on the vaccine and kids that parent leaders can use as they convene community conversations. Alongside other trusted partners like teachers and school nurses, pediatricians around the country have been active in showing up to parent meetings and other events this summer to talk about the vaccine and how to keep kids safe in school this fall.
- Providing schools and colleges with additional resources to host pop-up vaccine clinics as students come back to school and back to campus: In an effort to get more kids 12 and older vaccinated, last week President Biden called on school districts nationwide to host at least one pop-up vaccination clinic over the coming weeks, and the Administration directed pharmacies in the federal pharmacy program to work with school districts and colleges across the country to host vaccination clinics on-site. Today, the Administration will release additional resources to help schools host pop-up vaccine clinics, including a detailed guide for hosting school-based clinics, template letters and text messages for district and school leaders to use in sending messages home to students and families about the vaccine, resources for teachers to use in discussing the vaccine with students and their parents, and materials parent leaders can use as part of community conversations on the vaccine. The Administration also released a “Vax to School” College Checklist, detailing eight ways that colleges and universities can increase awareness of and access to the vaccine as students come back to campus – building off of the work of the nearly 900 colleges in the COVID-19 College Challenge who have committed to building vaccination rates on their campuses this summer and fall. The American Rescue Plan has provided billions of dollars that school districts and institutions of higher education can use to create awareness and build vaccine confidence, host vaccine clinics, and provide incentives such as paid time off for staff to get vaccinated.
- Launching the Back to School “Week of Action” with partners nationwide to get young people vaccinated: Beginning August 7th and ending August 15th, the Health and Human Services’ We Can Do This campaign and Made to Save are launching a Week of Action to encourage vaccinations for young people and support parents and schools as they get kids back to safe, in-person learning. The Week of Action will mobilize school districts, students, teachers, national organizations, local government leaders, businesses, social media influencers, celebrities, and thousands of volunteers to kick off the school year by encouraging young people to get vaccinated and offering accessible ways to do it in their community. More than 90 youth-based organizations, faith-based organizations, and schools are committed to hosting over 200 vaccination events focused on school and campus-based COVID-19 vaccination drives for students, their families, and their communities, with hundreds more events taking place throughout the month of August. Events will take place all over the country, including canvassing, phone banks, text banks and more. As part of the Week of Action, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona will travel to Topeka, KS to visit a back-to-school vaccine clinic; and trainings will be provided for teachers, parents, and student organizations on how to engage young people and their families on the vaccine. To kick off the Back to School Week of Action, the Second Gentleman and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci will host a virtual discussion with youth leaders who expanded access to the vaccine for young people and their communities. The Second Gentleman and Dr. Fauci will ask the young leaders about why they got involved in vaccine efforts, and how they have responded to the needs of their peers and their communities in getting more young people vaccinated. The virtual event will be livestreamed on the White House YouTube channel.
Today’s announcements build on the Administration’s release earlier this week of the “Return to School Roadmap,” a resource to support students, schools, educators, and communities as they prepare to return to safe, healthy in-person learning this fall and emerge from the pandemic stronger than before. The Roadmap provides key resources and supports for students, parents, educators, and school communities to build excitement around returning to classrooms this school year and outlines how federal funding can support the safe and sustained return to in-person learning. Over the course of the next several weeks as schools reopen nationwide, the Roadmap will lay out actionable strategies to implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) updated guidance for K-12 schools, so that schools can minimize transmission and sustain in-person learning all school-year long.
The Roadmap includes three “Landmark” priorities that schools, districts, and communities are encouraged to focus on to ensure all students are set up for success in the 2021-2022 school year. These include: (1) prioritizing the health and safety of students, staff, and educators, (2) building school communities and supporting students’ social, emotional, and mental health, and (3) accelerating academic achievement. As part of the Roadmap, the Department will release resources for practitioners and parents on each of these priorities, and will highlight schools and districts that are using innovative practices to address these priorities. The Department will also lift up ways that the American Rescue Plan and other federal funds can be used to address these priorities in schools and communities across the country, as well as outline additional investments from President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda that are needed to ensure our schools and communities can rebuild from the pandemic even stronger than they were before and address inequities exacerbated by the pandemic, particularly for students in underserved communities.