Vaccine deadlines in the region bring peace to some, but anxiety to others

"You don't want your child sick. You don't want your child making anybody else sick," said one Phillly father.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- In the School District of Philadelphia, with the deadline for staffers to be vaccinated having passed on September 30, some parents have peace of mind.

"You don't want your child sick. You don't want your child making anybody else sick. You don't want the teachers to be sick," said Michael Aikens of West Philadelphia.

Starting Monday, any district employee not fully vaccinated will start being tested twice a week, and even those who are fully vaccinated will still test once a week.

In New Jersey, school and state employees have to be fully vaccinated by October 18 or submit to regular testing.

When asked about California's recent announcement about a vaccine mandate for students, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said that's not happening in the Garden State for now.

"I don't anticipate that we're going to need to do that in terms of mandating the kids to have it, but it's an option I think we leave on the table," said Murphy during Monday's COVID-19 briefing.

At Cristo Rey High School in North Philadelphia, a vaccine mandate for students went into effect Monday.

Officials at the independent Catholic school say 99% of students are now vaccinated.

They say they'll help find a new school for any student who is not vaccinated and who doesn't have an approved exemption.

Action News heard from one family who says their child had to enroll elsewhere because they chose not to have their student vaccinated.

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More than 700,000 COVID deaths have been reported in the United States, Johns Hopkins University says.

In Norristown, a question of positive cases in schools... and what is considered close contact?

"He's a severe asthmatic. Like, he's in and out of the hospital, and when he's there, he's there seven or more days," said Robin Perry about her 12-year-old grandson, Quadir.

Recently he told her about fellow students testing positive at East Norriton Middle School, and then one of his teachers tested positive over the weekend and notified their classes.

But they heard nothing from the district.

"We asked him what do we do, who do we contact about that situation? Because now Quadir has once again been exposed," said Perry, wondering if quarantine was necessary.

Norristown Area Superintendent Chris Dormer says that family was likely not notified by the district because - according to Montgomery County guidelines - a masked person would have to be within three feet of a positive person for 15 consecutive minutes in a classroom in order to be considered a close contact.

Dormer also said most of the cases they're seeing in Norristown schools are being traced to out-of-school transmission.
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