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Press Release Published: Aug 18, 2022

Comer, Scalise, Jordan: D.C.’s Vaccine Mandate Locks Students Out of Classrooms

Call on Mayor Bowser to immediately halt enforcement of COVID vaccine mandate for students

WASHINGTON—House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.), Republican Whip and Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Ranking Member Steve Scalise (R-La.), and House Committee on the Judiciary Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) today wrote to District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser calling on her to immediately stop the enforcement of the District’s unreasonable vaccine mandate for students ages 12 and older before the school year begins. The Republican lawmakers are requesting a briefing about the District’s efforts to expel students who fail to comply with the punitive vaccine mandate.

“As we have seen over the last year and a half, COVID-19 vaccine mandates fail to prevent the contraction or transmission of COVID-19. In the face of this science, the D.C. Council’s vaccination mandate creates a likelihood that thousands of D.C. schoolchildren will be locked out of learning opportunities this school year, setting these children further behind in their academic progress. We urge you to immediately stop enforcement of this unreasonable and destructive vaccine mandate before D.C. schools return on August 29, 2022. Furthermore, we request a staff-level briefing to understand how D.C. officials intend to enforce this mandate against students who have already been hurt by COVID-19 school closures,” wrote the Republican lawmakers.

The D.C. Council’s decision to impose a vaccine mandate on its students presents no benefit to public health and will only serve to further harm children. No influential health group or federal agency is pushing states to require COVID-19 vaccines for students and there are no jurisdictions in the vicinity of the District that require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Virginia Department of Health declined to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for schoolchildren, and a vaccine requirement is reportedly not under consideration in Maryland.

“The District is far outside the educational mainstream in mandating a vaccine on school-aged children. According to the Washington Post, D.C.’s school mandate ‘is among the strictest in the nation, according to health experts, and is being enacted in a city with wide disparities in vaccination rates between its White and Black children,’” continued the Republican lawmakers. “The D.C. Council’s decision raises serious questions about why a local government would decline to follow the science and instead choose to place an entire population of youth at further risk of academic decline … To assist us in conducting important oversight into D.C.’s alarming attempt to expel thousands of students who fail to comply with a vaccine mandate, we request a staff-level briefing as soon as possible, but no later than August 25, 2022.”

The letter to Mayor Bowser can be found here.