GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – The Greenville County School Board has decided it will not allow their properties to be used to host clinics for vaccines under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), which includes most COVID-19 vaccines. Board members had an initial vote on the issue on Tuesday morning.
“A couple of our elected board members wanted to make sure that we don’t hold any kind of vaccine clinic, a mobile clinic or anything of that sort on Greenville County School property. So, they brought this up as an action item on the Committee of the Whole agenda, and it was discussed by the entire board today,” said Tim Waller, Spokesperson for Greenville County Schools. “So when this becomes a final vote in two weeks, this will mean that with the vaccines and their status right now, Greenville County Schools will no longer be able to offer any kind of a vaccine clinic on school property.”
Board member Sarah Dulin, said the district is not encouraging or discouraging anyone from getting vaccines.
“We simply believe that the School District needs to “stay in our lane” and focus on promoting education,” Dulin said. “Some of us believe that these kinds of medical decisions should be between a family and their healthcare provider, and it should not be the position of the District to promote a position when it comes to these particular vaccines. Hosting these clinics on campus could be interpreted as the District endorsing these medical decisions that are not educational in nature but are personal and private. I believe it is best for the District to remain neutral, and parents that live in my area have been forthcoming about their similar beliefs,” Dulin said.
“I disagree. I think they should allow the vaccination to be right there in the schools for the kids to get their booster shots, and the kids can go back to normal school learning, because right now, the kids are feeling separated from most of their friends from virtual and being in school,” said Lynnetta Cato, a mother in Greenville County Schools. “And like my kids told me earlier, they just want things to go back to normal. So, if they have it right there close by, it could persuade the parents to go ahead and get it done or at least try to change their minds so they can get the kids vaccinated,” Cato said.
“As a parent, I don’t want to feel pressured or have my kid feel that he is being pressured to get this because everybody else is so doing it. I don’t want him to feel like I have to jump on this because everybody else is doing it, or feel any less or different,” said Sara Morales, Greenville County resident.
“The idea that was expressed here today by a couple of these board members is the vaccine has become such a polarizing topic. You’ve heard this before, some people are for it and many other people are against it,” Waller said. “And the idea was if it’s that polarizing of an issue, what are we as a school district doing holding vaccine clinics of any kind on school property.”
Waller said the district held COVID-19 vaccine clinics for employees earlier this year, and some for older children this summer, but now they’re looking to change that.
“No vaccines of any kind. No mobile clinics, nothing like that will take place on Greenville County School property because of what happened here today,” Waller said. “I’d say that the thinking by our elected officials has been, while a vaccine clinic at schools might make sense, in a rural county where resources are limited, Greenville County is one of the most popular counties in South Carolina. We literally have a Walgreens, CVS, or a Publix on almost every street corner. So, we have plenty of resources and plenty availability for this vaccine.”
“It’s too invasive, so I agree with their decision of not having that in their school areas,” Morales said.
Cato has four boys, and disagrees with the initial vote.
“I just feel in general that it needs to be done for everything to get back to normal, because these are children. They don’t know how to stay six feet a part all the time,” Cato said. “And most kindergarten and grades under, mostly have colds and weak immune systems, so if they have the shot, I think it would boost their immune system and like I said, get everybody back on point.”
Dulin wants to make it clear, that if a vaccine is approved by the FDA, this amendment would not apply.
The Board will take a final vote on this policy change at its next board meeting on Nov. 16. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m.