Vaccination requirements spark controversy with student athletes


Brianna Jones, Staff Writer

As the winter sports season starts, more Covid-19 regulations are being put in place to protect student athletes. The most prominent being to provide proof of a Covid-19 vaccine card, unless there is a medical or religious reason to evade getting the vaccine. This requirement (implemented on November 8) has sparked differing opinions from athletes, coaches and administration alike. 

“Students who are 16 years of age or older (age as of November 8 for Winter Season) who are unvaccinated and do not have either a medical or religious exemption will not be able to participate in team activities. Unvaccinated students who are 12 -15 years of age who do not provide a weekly negative Covid-19 test will not [be] able to participate in team activities” official FCPS vaccination guidelines state. While these rules are unchangeable, Hayfield students have differing opinions on this new mandate. 

Christopher Johnson-Hunte (left) and Christian Johnson-Hunte (right) featured at a wrestling tournament. (Steven Salazar)

“I didn’t take the shot… I feel like they shouldn’t require or make [student athletes] take the shot to do a sport,” Senior Christian Johnson-Hunte said. 

Christian did not get his vaccine for a religious reason and has to get tested every week to be qualified to wrestle. His twin

brother Christopher got the vaccine, but has a similar opinion to his brother. 

“I don’t think it should be required for kids to get a covid shot to play sports in high school, especially because it’s high school. I would understand if it was a college or the NFL… but it’s not really a big deal.” Christopher Johnson-Hunte said. 

However not all students feel the same as the Johnson-Hunte’s. More athletes at Hayfield are vaccinated, then those who are not. 

“When students were turning in their paperwork, we were pleasantly surprised about the amount of students vaccinated.” Director of Student Activities Edward Nowland said. 

Some students in particular are very opinionated on the policy of vaccinations. 

Markus Rouse playing defense (JSB Exposures)

“I personally think [the vaccine] should be required [for sports] because it makes it less likely for everyone else to get sick… “ Senior varsity basketball player Markus Rouse said. “I personally do [feel safer playing against other teams] … I think unless you have a medical or religious reason you should get vaccinated, I don’t know why you wouldn’t.”

Varsity Wrestling Coach and freshman Biology teacher Roy Hill wishes all his athletes were vaccinated to protect themselves against the virus.

 “It’s kinda discouraging with me being a science teacher, that there are so many who are skeptical of science,” Roy Hill said. “Whether it is from not understanding the processes involved, or being led astray by people with nefarious, political aspirations.”