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Here Are the GOP Governors Dismissing COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates for School Entry

Five Republican governors announced their states will not require COVID-19 vaccinations for children to attend public school.

The state leaders for Arkansas, Florida, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia declared they have no intention to make getting a COVID-19 vaccine one of their school entry requirements.

It became an issue after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added COVID-19 to its childhood vaccination schedule.

Including COVID-19 vaccination on the schedule is only a recommendation for parents and health providers on when certain vaccines should be administered, according to the CDC, noting school-entry vaccination requirements are determined at state or local levels.

“It’s important to note that there are no changes in COVID-19 vaccine policy, and today’s action simply helps streamline clinical guidance for healthcare providers by including all currently licensed, authorized and routinely recommended vaccines in one document,” said CDC officials in a statement.

At least five states have made their position clear about not requiring the coronavirus vaccination as a condition for attending in-person learning at schools in their state.

“In Arkansas, the State will not require COVID vaccines for your child to receive an education,” remarked Gov. Asa Hutchinson in a Friday Twitter post. “Throughout the pandemic, I encouraged Arkansans to get the vaccine but have never advocated for vaccine mandates, and I intend to continue that fight.”

The governor of the Sunshine State’s remark went viral when he made a similar vow.

“As long as I am Governor, in Florida there will not be a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for children in our schools,” Ron DeSantis (R-FL) commented in a Thursday Twitter post. The Republican governor’s tweet had already received 1.3 million views within one day.

Oklahoma’s governor had signed legislation in 2021 prohibiting schools from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for children attending their institutions. He continues to leave that decision in the hands of parents.

“Regardless of what the CDC in Washington says, nothing changes in Oklahoma and kids are not required to get a COVID vaccine to attend school,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt (R-OK). “It’s up to parents to decide how to protect their child from viruses and as long as I am governor, we will never force kids to get a COVID vaccine to go to school.”

Tennessee continues to exercise a light touch on the issue of requiring the vaccine for school children.

“I’ve always said mandates are the wrong approach, & TN has led in pushing back on federal Covid vaccine requirements,” said Gov. Bill Lee (R-TN) in a Facebook post. “Thanks to our work with the General Assembly, TN families won’t be impacted by today’s CDC vote. We’ll continue to stand for TN children & for personal freedom.”

Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) made parental rights in school matters a cornerstone of his 2021 gubernatorial campaign upset and his stand remains unchanged.

“COVID-19 mandates should be in our rear view mirror,” Younkin said in a Thursday Twitter post. “The decision to vaccinate a child against COVID-19 is for Virginia parents to make about what’s best for them and their family. We will not adhere to these mandates @CDCgov.”

“In Virginia, parents matter.”

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