Coaches, Gov. Lamont urge high schoolers to get vaccinated as COVID-19 cases rise
Gov. Lamont was joined by coaches at a New Haven vaccination site Monday to urge students to get vaccinated before returning this fall.
Coaches said if students aren’t vaccinated, they could be excluded from the field this fall.
"We deal with a lot of kids. They can take [COVID-19] home to their grandparents, their parents, uncles, aunts, and family members,” said Hillhouse High School football coach Reggie Lytle.
It's a worry that Gov. Lamont agrees with.
“If a coach says, 'I want everybody vaccinated.' If the superintendent says, 'I want everybody vaccinated.' If the owner of the restaurant says, 'I want to make sure that, before you come in here without a mask, I can see you've been vaccinated,’ we leave that up to the good discretion of those folks,” Lamont said.
At the moment, there aren’t concrete plans in place to require athletes to get vaccinated, but school systems and coaches have the option to enforce.
Destiny Pervis held out against taking the coronavirus vaccine for months, but she said now was the right time. "A lot of people haven't gotten sick, but now they're sick, so you've got to protect yourself any way you can,” Pervis said.
Glenn Lungarin, the director of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, believes coaches have a great influence on their athletes.
"I think kids have a very close relationship with their coaches, with their band instructors, and if there's encouragement there, we're hoping that that pushes the needle for that younger demographic,” he said.
Nearly 67% of all 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. The number decreases to half for younger students.
The governor is still deciding whether masks will be required in school. That decision will come in the next two or three weeks.
VACCINE APPOINTMENTS: Get appointment information