Read the memo from Head of School Dana Weeks about GFS' new COVID-19 vaccine requirement.
Please see the following message from Head of School Dana Weeks about the school's vaccine requirement.
August 2, 2021
Thank you for your commitment to the safety of our community and the education of our children—your dedication is in large part why we were able to keep our students in school last year. Today, we are announcing that Germantown Friends School will require that all faculty, staff (including contracted staff), and eligible students receive the COVID-19 vaccine. As mentioned during the July planning meeting, we have been exploring this option and gathering insight from other schools, universities, and employers who have implemented this requirement.
With the support of the Medical Advisory Board, we are making this important decision now, recognizing the new challenges related to the virus—the Delta variant’s high transmissibility, increasing rate of infection in Philadelphia, and capacity to create severe illness in unvaccinated individuals. In addition to the strong safety and efficacy data and global experience related to available vaccines, we know that the majority of COVID-19 infections and nearly all cases of severe disease and hospitalization in the community are in unvaccinated persons. And we know that if eligible individuals get the COVID-19 vaccine, we will do our part in preventing the development of future, potentially even more contagious variants, if the virus continues to spread.
Understanding the great importance of on-campus learning and that being together is critical for the physical and emotional health of our children, we must do what we can to keep our students in school every day and our faculty, staff, and families healthy. Masking and getting the COVID-19 vaccine—accompanied by other important risk mitigation steps—will ensure that we are doing all we can to combat COVID-19.
The Germantown Friends School COVID-19 Vaccination Policy is linked here. [faculty, staff, and families, please see email for additional details and links to submit information].
- Faculty, staff, and eligible students should begin the COVID-19 vaccination series before the first day of school on September 8 and will have until October 4, 2021 to become fully vaccinated and submit their information, or to apply for an exemption. Students who become eligible by turning 12 over the course of the year have six weeks to complete the two vaccinations and submit documentation.
- Our decision to require vaccination does not apply to students aged 11 and under at this time. We will examine the relevant information related to the vaccination of our younger students after the vaccine is available.
- We will continue to follow the changes in masking guidelines and will share more information as it becomes available. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health shared updated guidance last week, which can be found here.
We are grateful for your partnership and understanding. Requiring the vaccine is a critical step in protecting our students, faculty, staff, and neighbors, and keeping school in session. We will continue to communicate with updates on all of our COVID-19 policies and plans, as well as other key information about our fall planning. The date of our next summer all-school Zoom meeting will be announced later this week.
I cannot wait to see your students on campus soon!
Head of School