Student COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is CPS requiring age-eligible students to be vaccinated?
CPS’s priority is to maximize opportunities for safe, in-person learning so that CPS can remain focused on helping every student recover and thrive in school. Vaccinations are one of the most effective tools in our toolbox to reduce the spread and impact of COVID-19. As we head into winter, requiring vaccinations for CPS youth participating in sports and extracurricular activities is an important proactive step that is aligned with the recommendations of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA).

The Cambridge School Committee approved this requirement on October 5, 2021.

2. What is the timeline for students ages 12+?
Students 12+ are eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. This requires two shots, with the second shot 3 weeks (or 21 days) after your first. Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose.

  • In order to meet the November 22 deadline, this means students must receive their first dose no later than October 18 and their second dose no later than November 8.
  • In order to meet the November 29 deadline for participation in athletics and extracurricular activities, this means students must receive their first dose no later than October 25 and their second dose no later than November 15.

3. What is the tentative timeline for children under 12 to receive the COVID-19 vaccine? (Updated 10/22/21)
We anticipate the FDA will approve children under age 12 to receive the vaccine later this month. We encourage families to make plans to participate in CPHD scheduled vaccination clinics and other opportunities for vaccination, but CPS has not established a timeline for school requirements. We will share additional information on the timeline as we learn more. 

4. What is the deadline for children who will turn 12 soon? (Added 10/22/2021)
CPS students have two months from their 12th birthday to comply with the vaccination requirement.

5. What happens if my child does not get a vaccination by the deadlines?
While CPS is requiring this vaccination for all students, no student will be excluded from attending school due to vaccination status.

As of November 29, age-eligible student (currently ages 12+) must be fully vaccinated in order to participate in CPS after school extracurricular activities, including athletics, including club and intramural sports, student government, after School visual and performing arts, all school clubs that meet out of the school day, and school sponsored social events.

6. How do families provide information about student vaccinations and requests for exemptions? (Updated 10/22/21)
Beginning November 8, families will share vaccination information and submit exemption requests through the Family Portal. In the meantime, please do not share student’s vaccination information via email with school staff.

7. Who will have access to my students’ vaccination data?
Student vaccination data will be part of the student’s educational record. The school leadership team (principal, assistant principal, and deans), the school public health team (school nurses and nurse manager), and designated district leaders will have access to all students’ vaccination status. The athletics office and coaches will have access to vaccination status of athletes and designated club advisors will have access to students in their clubs.

Purpose Access to students’ vaccination status (yes/no)
All Students Nurses and nurse manager
Principals, assistant principal, school clerk
CRLS deans (their Learning Community only)
Athletics participation
Athletics office and coaches
Afterschool clubs participation
Principals, Assistant Principals, school clerks - ALL
CRLS deans (their Learning Community only)
Designated club advisors (only students participating in their club)
School sponsored social events
Principals, assistant principal, school clerk, CRLS deans

8. What exemptions are permissible? 
(Updated 10/22/2021)
For exemption requests, families will upload the following standard, written evidence for a medical or religious exemption into the Family Portal beginning November 8.

  • Religious Exemption: Explanation in writing from a parent/guardian that a vaccine conflicts with their sincerely held religious belief (in alignment with state law)
  • Medical Exemption: Clear documentation from a doctor or health care provider of a medical condition that makes vaccination risky or unsafe.
  • Students with special needs: Clear documentation from a doctor or health care provider of an issue that would serve as a barrier to vaccination.
9. Does the vaccination requirement apply to afterschool opportunities run by city or community programs that take place on CPS grounds? (Added 10/22/2021)
No. The requirement only applies to CPS-sponsored afterschool activities

10. How can families access vaccines?

Families can access vaccines in the following ways:

  1. Your primary health care provider
  2. Cambridge Public Health Department Clinics: Cambridge Public Health Department is offering free Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines at four clinics. This will include first and second doses of the vaccine as well as booster shots. To register for a flu vaccine at one of the CPHD clinics, please click here. Walk-ins are also welcome.
    • Friday, October 15, 2021, 10AM - 4PM, Citywide Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Ave (Central Square)
    • Saturday, October 16, 2021, 11AM - 6PM, King Open School, 850 Cambridge St (Wellington-Harrington)
    • Friday, October 22, 2021, 2 - 8PM, Reservoir Church,170 Rindge Ave (North Cambridge)
    • Saturday, October 23, 2021, Pisani Center, 12PM - 6PM, 131 Washington (The Port)
  3. Several additional locations in Cambridge and neighboring communities are also offering Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines:
    • Cambridge Health Alliance: CHA Somerville Vaccine Center, 176 Somerville Ave, Somerville (next to Target), Mon & Tues: 11AM - 6:30PM, Wed, Thu, & Fri: 8:30AM - 4PM. Walk-ins or appointments. To pre-register: CHA Patients or Non-CHA patients
    • CVS: 624 Mass. Ave (Central Square) (also many other locations in neighboring communities)
    • Appointments required. Schedule an appointment here.
    • Star Market (Osco Pharmacy): 699 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge (also many other locations in neighboring communities). Walk-ins or appointments. Schedule an appointment here.
  4. Student Vaccination Finder

CPS is continuing to explore other options to expand access to vaccines for students.

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