On July 30, 2021 the Massachusetts school commissioner, Jeffrey C. Riley, released a memorandum entitled “DESE/DPH COVID-19 Guidance for Districts and Schools: Fall 2021.” In the memorandum Commissioner Riley makes several recommendations for schools including,
- Implementing diagnostic and screening tests for unvaccinated students and staff,
- Hosting on-site vaccination clinics during either summer orientation or the start of classes.
This month, school committee’s across the state will vote on whether to accept or reject the commissioner’s recommendations.
If your school committee chooses to implement the proposed in-school COVID tests and/or vaccine clinics, it’s important for parents to understand their right to informed consent.
Generally, children can be subjected to diagnostic tests and medical treatment (e.g., vaccination) only with their parents’ consent.
If you do not agree to subject your children to the proposed measures, then you should state that to his or her school in no uncertain terms.
Below is a template for a letter that you can send to your child’s principal and school superintendent making it clear that your child is not to be tested or vaccinated without your approval:
[Insert superintendent’s address.]
[Insert school’s address]
RE: Legal Notice Concerning DESE/DPH COVID-19 Guidance for Districts and Schools
Superintendent ____________ and Principal _____________,
On July 30, 2021 the DESE Commissioner, Jeffrey C. Riley, released a memorandum entitled “DESE/DPH COVID-19 Guidance for Districts and Schools: Fall 2021.” See attached. In the memorandum Mr. Riley recommends the following:
- “COVID-19 testing – Districts and schools are highly encouraged to maintain or establish a robust plan for COVID-19 testing in schools, including both diagnostic testing and screening (pooled) testing for students and staff.”
- “Back to school vaccination clinics – We urge all schools…to host an on-site vaccination clinic during summer orientation events or when classes begin.”
My daughter/son, [insert student’s name], will enter ____ grade at [insert school’s name] this fall. It’s unclear whether the school will implement Mr. Riley’s recommendations. Nevertheless, let this letter serve as notice.
No one is to administer COVID-19 testing on my child. If you do, I will take immediate legal action against the town, the state, and any agency or individual who carries out the testing. Likewise, under no circumstances is my child to participate in a school vaccination clinic.
As Mr. Riley’s memorandum points out, “even for those students not yet vaccinated, the apparent risk of COVID-19 to children remains small.” His statement is followed by four citations to studies confirming that the virus is not a serious threat to kids.
Therefore, the recommendations are needless as well as physically and emotionally harmful to children. My child is not to be subjected to them.
[Insert your name.]