Montclair Kimberley Academy will require all students ages 16 years or older and students ages 12 and older participating in winter athletics to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus. (FILE PHOTO)

BY TALIA WIENER
wiener@montclairlocal.news

Montclair Kimberley Academy will require all students ages 16 years and older to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

It’ll also require vaccines for students ages 12 and older who participate in winter athletics. 

The policy change, put into effect Sept. 17, aims to counter potentially increased transmission of the coronavirus during indoor and unmasked athletic activity, according to MKA’s website. 

Proof of vaccination must be submitted by Nov. 15, according to the school’s policy. Students who turn 16 during the 2021-2022 school year should plan to be vaccinated within 60 days of their birthday.

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A student is considered vaccinated two or more weeks after receiving a two-dose vaccine series or a single-dose vaccine, the policy states. 

Requests for exemption from the policy due to medical reasons or because of sincerely held religious beliefs must be submitted in writing, according to MKA’s website. Students who receive exemptions will be subject to additional restrictions and requirements including, but not limited to, weekly testing.

The policy says students who fail to comply will be “barred from attending or participating in oncampus academic, co-curricular, and extra-curricular programs and/or activities.” 

Daily health screenings, masking and pooled testing continue to be used at MKA, according to MKA’s website. There has only been one positive test since the start of the school year, during the pooled testing of 555 students and employees on Sept. 8.

The results of MKA’s pooled tests are posted on their website.

As of Tuesday, 92% of upper school students and 87% of eligible middle school students are vaccinated, according to the school’s website. One primary school student and two middle school students were in quarantine. 

In March, MKA announced that all employees would be required to receive vaccines before the 2021-2022 school year began, Head of School Nigel D. Furlonge said. In April, the vaccination policy was sent out, requiring proof of vaccination by July 1 for staff and by Aug. 1 for faculty.

All employees have complied with the school’s own vaccine mandate, Furlonge said in August.

“MKA continues to closely monitor and respond to information and data surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic,” Furlonge said. “The safety of our students, faculty, staff and families is, as always, our highest priority.”

MKA Director of Communications and Marketing Kim Saunders has not yet responded to an email sent to her school address Tuesday morning. Business manager Eileen Richardson has not yet responded to a voicemail left on her office phone Tuesday afternoon.