A private school in Miami has reversed course on its controversial plan to force students who got COVID-19 vaccines to quarantine for 30 days, a report said Monday.
The about-face by administrators at Centner Academy came after the state threatened to pull funding from the school if it went ahead with the plan, which was based on debunked claims that newly vaccinated people could shed the virus, WPLG reported.
Centner’s chief operating officer, Bianca Erickson, assured the Florida Department of Education in a letter Friday that the school would not require any student to “quarantine at home” if vaccinated.
“When we announced the subject policy regarding COVID-19, we believed that we were acting in compliance with the Department of Education’s Emergency Rule … which allows a student to be considered in attendance at school when under a ‘stay-home’ directive related to COVID-19,” Erickson wrote.
“Our plan at the time included a ‘stay-home’ policy that would be supported by remote learning,” Erickson’s letter continued. “Please note, however, that the plan as announced was not implemented prior to receipt of your letter and we will not pursue any such measures.”
State education officials had warned the school in a letter Thursday that the proposed policy would run afoul of the law and could lead to lost funding, WPLG reported.
“Recently it has come to our attention that your schools may employ attendance policies which require parents of recently vaccinated students to quarantine their children for unreasonable, unnecessary and unduly burdensome amount of time before returning for in-person instruction,” the letter to the school read.
The DOE warned that “swift and decisive” punitive actions against the school could follow, including the revocation of funding.
A Post message seeking comment from the school was not returned Monday.
The private K-8 school for roughly 300 students — where tuition costs up to $29,850 this year — had informed parents earlier this month that vaccinated students would need to stay home for at least 30 days after each dose and booster they received and could only return afterward if “healthy” and symptom-free.
Dr. Aileen Maria Marty, an infectious-disease expert at Florida International University, blasted the message as “very destructive,” WPLG had reported.
“That is not written by anyone who has any understanding of the science,” Marty told the station. “It’s just that simple, it’s pure fiction.”
The school’s co-founder, David Centner, told WPLG in an email that the policy was designed to protect “students’ well-being and their sense of safety” while at school and based partly on “numerous” anecdotal cases.
“Big Pharma itself has created reasonable uncertainty as to whether their product may carry the risk of ‘adverse events’ via inhalation or skin contact to those who are unvaccinated,” Centner added in the email.
But Pfizer, maker of the only vaccine currently approved by the FDA for people age 12 and older, flatly told WPLG that its shot doesn’t contain virus particles and therefore they cannot be transmitted to others.
“Because there is no virus produced in the body, no shedding occurs within the human body,” Pfizer said in a statement. “The vaccine cannot be inhaled via shedding and can only enter the human body through an administered dose.”
A statement on the school’s website regarding its vaccine policy notes that it values “freedom of choice” and religion.
“We are proud that our happiness school takes a comprehensive look at vaccine policies statewide, and we accept religious exemptions in lieu of proof of vaccination,” the website reads.
Centner Academy also made national headlines in April when it asked its teachers to wait until the end of the school year to get vaccinated. If they did anyway, the educators were told they wouldn’t be able to return for the next academic year, CNN reported.