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Portland Public Schools considers COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students

The school board discussed the possibility of a vaccine mandate Tuesday night. It's not clear yet if or when the board will vote on a mandate.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The school board for Portland Public Schools discussed the possibility of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students Tuesday night.

The mandate would be for students 12 years and older, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB).

Members of the school board heard from public health officials, a pediatrician and an emergency room doctor Tuesday night, all of whom supported getting more kids vaccinated.

"We know that coronaviruses in particular are very good at creating variants, they're fast at it," said Tress Goodwin, an emergency medicine physician at Children's National Hospital. "And so, from a public health perspective and the longevity of this pandemic, the least number of people, whether they're little or big, getting infected and giving the virus a playground to create new variants, is really important."

Some school board members expressed concern about alienating families who may be hesitant to get the vaccine or may have trouble accessing it.

It's not clear yet if or when the board will vote on a mandate. OPB reported that "district officials will hold two virtual town halls prior to the board considering and voting on a vaccine requirement."

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