Local parents and student advocates ask when older students can go back to school — especially as more teens get vaccinated

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While many elementary kids in Erie County are heading back to school this week for full-time in-person learning, many middle school and high school students are still stuck learning behind a computer screen.

“You can not learn calculus, physics, AP gov this way. You can’t,” said Michelle Mckinstry, Williamsville mom of two teenagers.

Vaccinations for high school-aged kids are underway in the county and many advocates and parents say this should be enough to let the older kids go back.

“The vaccinations absolutely paves the way for getting the kids into school, if Erie County would recognize it,” Mckinstry said. “They’re letting them have the vaccinations. They’re encouraging the kids to get the vaccinations, but when they’re making the decision on whether the high school kids can go back to school, they don’t care if you have the vaccination. It’s community numbers.”

Todd Aldinger of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria, is leading lawsuits against Williamsville and other school districts pushing for full-time in-person learning. Mckinstry is not a part of the lawsuit.

“So, if enough 16, 17 or 18 year olds get the vaccine they’ll be approaching herd immunity in high schools, where you won’t have that in elementary schools,” said Aldinger.

The Erie County Health Department says that there are about 5,482 teenagers ages 16 and 17 who have gotten their first dose of the vaccine already. The county is hosting vaccination clinics for teens at McKinley High School, SUNY ECC North And SUNY ECC South.

For more information visit https://www2.erie.gov/health/index.php?q=covid-19-vaccine-information

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