Florida School Ends Policy of Keeping Vaccinated Students Home After Funding-Cutoff Threat

A private school in Florida has rescinded a controversial policy that required any student who got vaccinated against COVID-19 to stay home for 30 days, following a state threat to pull its funding.

Earlier this month, parents of students who attend Centner Academy in Miami received a letter from the school announcing the policy. It urged them to hold off until the summer to get their children vaccinated or the student would be required to stay home for 30 days after each dose.

But this past Friday, the school appeared to back off on the policy. The school said in a letter obtained by South Florida's WPLG-TV that the plan was not implemented and that the school will not be pursuing the policy.

"We conclude our response by confirming that Centner Academy is not requesting any student to quarantine at home due to vaccination status," the school's chief operating officer, Bianca Erickson, wrote in the letter, according to WPLG.

Erickson said that when the policy was announced, the school believed it was in compliance with a state Department of Education emergency rule, which allows a student to be considered in attendance when under a "stay-home" directive related to COVID-19, WPLG said.

David Centner, the co-founder of the school, wrote in a statement to Newsweek, "Our decision not to enact the 30-day at-home quarantine was an easy one as no parents expressed interest in getting the COVID vaccine."

"In addition to the full support of families from our school, we have been overwhelmed with outreach and requests from parents across the country who want to protect their children," the statement said.

The school initially announced the policy because of unfounded concerns about "the potential transmission or shedding onto others" of the coronavirus.

However, vaccine shedding can occur only when a vaccine contains a weakened version of a live virus, and none of the COVID-19 vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration do so.

The policy was criticized by Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert at Florida International University, who said it was "fiction" and not based on science.

Last week, Florida's Department of Education said it would investigate and threatened to pull funding from the private school over the policy, according to WPLG. The department accused the school of implementing an "unreasonable, unnecessary and unduly burdensome" policy on students.

"Should our investigation reveal that your schools' policies fail to comport with these lawful rights and obligations, understand that the action that follows—up to and including revocation of your schools' scholarship eligibility and funding—will be both swift and decisive," the letter said, according to WPLG.

In April, the school said that it would not employ anyone who receives a vaccine and that those who already received it would be kept separate from students. This policy was based on an unfounded belief that unvaccinated women who have stood near vaccinated people have experienced miscarriages and other adverse reproductive reactions.

However, scientists say there is no basis for this claim and encourage pregnant women to get vaccinated against the virus.

Centner Academy
Centner Academy in Miami, above, has rescinded a policy requiring students who got a COVID-19 vaccine to stay home for 30 days after each dose. CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images