DEARBORN/ DEARBORN HEIGHTS — With the Pfizer vaccine now being approved for children as young as 12, local school leaders are addressing vaccine concerns.
Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent Glenn Maleyko said that the district cannot dictate vaccines for students.
“We are just advocating for the vaccines in a positive manner,” he said. “We have had over 2,000 staff members get vaccinated and we have had successful vaccination clinics at the high schools, with about 800 vaccines being distributed during those clinics.”
With the graduation ceremonies and proms being allowed, Maleyko said the district will be as cautious as possible.
“We are looking at potentially incentivizing getting the vaccine in order to participate in non-mandatory events,” he said. “This includes the graduation events and the proms that will be outdoors and within state guidelines. We also want to get students back to school full-time by the fall, even though we will still have a choice.”
The Crestwood School District is in a similar situation.
“We still won’t mandate vaccines for students to come back to school,” Superintendent Youssef Mosallam said. “We have over 85 percent of staff vaccinated. We are still following all CDC and Wayne County Health Department recommendations.”
Mosallam said that Crestwood is also having a graduation ceremony and prom this year.
“We are having a graduation ceremony outdoors on June 5,” he said. “We have made arrangements for everyone to be spaced out enough to fit within the guidelines and each student will be allowed to bring two guests each. We will also be live streaming graduation on our YouTube channel. The student government met with the principal and they decided to wait until July to host their prom in the hopes of being able to dance and have less guidelines to follow.”
Both superintendents said that they are providing resources for families who may have questions.
“If parents have questions about the vaccine, they can definitely call their schools and we have nurses that can help,” Maleyko said. “We want to get back to normal and want to make sure we are here for each other.”
“For parents who are concerned about the vaccine, this is just another option to get their students vaccinated,” Mosallam said. “We are looking into possibly having a vaccination site, which we will have more information on soon. We have intentions of getting back to normalcy while learning from this pandemic to be prepared in the future. When it comes to the health of our students, we make the resources available to them and allow them to make that decision for themselves.”
Maleyko said that what the schools are doing is working.
“Our mitigation is working and we have not had any spread in our schools,” he said. “It works, following the rules, and we have proven that in Dearborn Public Schools. This is how we get back to normal. We continue to work for education. We know families are still dealing with the pandemic. We are here for each other and we are working to get students back safely.”
Mosallam said the community has been extremely supportive of the schools.
“We thank the community for their support and patience,” he said. “We are working to meet the needs of our students based on educational, emotional and mental needs while also listening and taking instruction from the medical community on how to do so safely.”