Parents react to rule that eligible, COVID exposed, unboosted students must wait 5 days for extracurriculars

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester area parents offered a complicated reception to the new state requirement that students get a COVID vaccine booster to continue to participate in extracurricular activities if they’ve been exposed to the virus.

“It’s safe and I think it’s just better for the community,” explained Ricardo Lagares as he came out to see his son play at Churchville Chili, perfectly satisfied with the new requirement.

The new notice from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) said students exposed to COVID who’ve been vaccinated can go to class instead of being isolated in a newly shortened quarantine period of five days but, unless they’ve also gotten a booster shot, they can’t do extracurricular activities like sports.

Some parents question the different rules for different activities, going to class versus after school.

“It would make more sense, and be easier if the guidance was the same across the board,” said Lauren Reed, mother of a Hilton High School athlete. “I think it’s fair. I think it helps increase safety, limit exposure.”

But others tell News10NBC they object to a vaccine mandate.

Meiosha Blocker, whose son plays for Gates Chili said she got her vaccine because she had to, but doesn’t like the idea of a requirement, especially for young people.

“I feel like you should be able to control if you want to do it or not. I feel like they’re making us do it and that’s not good,” she said.

The Health Department’s letter said it’s meant to clear up questions from school systems and it promises more details and clarification “soon.”

The idea got plenty of support from Latoya Lagares.

She’s not just the parent of a high school athlete. She’s a Registered Nurse who’s been on the front lines of the pandemic.

“I’ve taken care of patients with COVID,” she said. “I’ve seen them dead. I have wrapped their bodies. I’ve done all of that and I know the devastation that COVID can do to families and to individuals. So, I think we need to do what we can to protect the community.”

The NYSDOH said its standards are meant to ensure that schools stay open for in-person learning.