Coverage ideas: Coronavirus/COVID-19 vaccination

More than 18 months into the coronavirus pandemic, it remains the story most driving the news, particularly with schools. It’s a factor in everything from safety to budgets to curriculum. Vaccines and rates of vaccination continue to drive school news, too, especially as regions of the nation experience a midsummer surge in infections from the delta variant of the virus. 

Updated July 28. In late July, several state and local governments declared that government employees would have to get vaccinated or comply with additional mitigation and testing requirements. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance that in areas where the virus is spreading all people should wear masks indoors at public venues, regardless of vaccination status, and that at schools, everyone of all ages and vaccination statuses should wear a mask. The guidelines followed news that vaccinated people could become infected (though they were unlikely to die or be hospitalized) and they could spread the virus, particularly the more-infectious delta variant. 

Updated Aug. 14. Governors in Illinois, California, Washington and other states mandated masks for schools statewide. Some states or local school districts have also required school employees to be vaccinated, and the nation’s largest teachers union supports it. Despite the new information and CDC guidelines, governors in Florida, Texas, Arizona, Iowa, Oklahoma and South Carolina prohibited school districts from requiring masks, while the Arkansas prohibition is on hold by a judge. Several school districts in Florida and Texas have said they would require masks in defiance of the state prohibition. Mask requirements are changing rapidly, but The Washington Post tracks the changes here.

Updated Aug. 18. Tens of thousands of students and teachers are already quarantining due to exposure to someone with COVID-19 in a school that has already started the year. A school district in Texas added mask-wearing to its dress code as a way to circumvent the governor’s order against mandating masks. The Biden administration announced that boosters of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines would be available for people eight months after receiving them (beginning in late September).

Key question: How have local conditions and the political environment affected your school’s plan to hold classes in person?

The list reflects what I have read, heard and seen in my own media diet, so it comes from my perspective. Chicago is also over-represented because that’s where I live and work. The list is not meant to be comprehensive or exclusive of other ideas. Many of the stories were covered by multiple outlets, but links here lean toward sites available without a subscription, particularly nonprofit news sites like NPR and The 19th.

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