Academy School file photo

Academy School in West Brattleboro. 

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WEST BRATTLEBORO — A student at Academy School was given a COVID-19 vaccination against the parents’ wishes.

“Unfortunately, a mistake was made,” Principal Kelly Dias said Tuesday in an email response to the Reformer.

After 5- to 11-year-olds were cleared to receive the Pfizer vaccine, the Vermont Department of Health organized vaccination clinics for students 5 and older at schools. Three of these clinics have occurred at Windham Southeast School District schools, including one at Academy School, according to a letter to families from Interim Superintendent Mark Speno.

Speno said a student whose parents didn’t consent to vaccination at the elementary school was mistaken for a student whose parents did provide consent. Increased screening measures will be in place at future clinics, he said.

“We are deeply sorry that this mistake happened, and have worked internally to improve our screening procedures,” he wrote. “The Health Department has worked to evaluate its procedures to ensure that this does not happen again. Thankfully, we are not aware of any harm to the student because of this mistake. We take our responsibilities to students and families very seriously, and we respect parents’ rights to make health care decisions for their children.”

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Speno said staff are “excited to experience school with the benefit of vaccinated students.”

“It should increase student safety from COVID infection and allow students to remain in school when cases arise,” he wrote. “We have done our best to make sure that only students who have parental permission are vaccinated.”

Vaccination against the coronavirus isn’t mandatory to attend school and school staff respect that some families have chosen not to vaccinate, Speno said.

“We are a school district that is comprised of people from diverse belief systems, cultures and medical preferences, and we honor and respect the multiple values that all community members bring,” he wrote.


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