Athletics Vaccination Requirement

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) requires student-athletes be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the winter and spring sports seasons

Beginning November 8, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) requires student-athletes be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the winter and spring sports seasons as an additional safety measure to support our layered prevention strategies. An increase in positive COVID-19 cases in sports programs results in large numbers of students being paused from athletic participation and, more importantly, classroom instruction.

Vaccination Requirement

  • Students who are 16 years of age or older (age as of November 8 for Winter Season) who are unvaccinated and do not have either a medical or religious exemption will not be able to participate in team activities.  
  • A student is considered fully vaccinated if two weeks have passed since their last COVID-19 shot. However, as long as they have had their second shot by November 8 they may participate. 
  • Unvaccinated students who are 12 -15 years of age who do not provide a weekly negative Covid-19 test will not able to participate in team activities.  Read more about testing

Submitting Proof of Vaccination

Starting October 4, student athletes can submit their proof of Covid-19 vaccination to their schools.  Students will need to:

  • show their vaccination cards to authorized school personnel

Schools will provide specific details of submitting proof of vaccination information.

Exemptions

Religious

Starting October 4, student athletes can submit the Commonwealth of Virginia Certificate of Religious Exemption form to their schools.  The form must be notarized and should be submitted directly to the Student Activities Office of their high school by November 1 for the winter season.  This will allow enough time for those students with an exemption to provide proof of their negative Covid-19 test that week so that they may participate in tryouts.  

Students who are not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine due to religious reasons will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test weekly. This test will need to be either a rapid test or a PCR test. Home testing using over the counter testing products will not be accepted. Read more about testing

Medical

Beginning October 4, students who are not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine due to documented health or medical reasons will be exempt from the requirement, but they must submit the medical exemption information to their schools by November 1 for the winter season.  They will need to provide documentation of a medical exemption from their physician. Students can do this through a letter from their doctor (on the doctor’s office letterhead) stating the student has a medical condition that prevents them from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.   This will allow enough time for those students with a medical exemption to provide proof of their negative COVID-19 test that week so that they may participate in tryouts. 

Students who are not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine due to documented health or medical reasons will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test weekly. This test will need to be either a rapid test or a PCR test. Home testing using over the counter testing products will not be accepted. . Read more about testing

Who Is Affected

FCPS will require proof of a COVID-19 vaccination for participation in any activity that requires a physical, including dance team and step team. We are only mandating the vaccine for those VHSL activities that require a physical and are deemed high contact activities with an increased likelihood of transmission of the virus. 

Safety

As with any activity, if parents are concerned about the health and welfare of their child, participation in athletics is optional and students do not have to participate. 
 

Vaccination Alternatives

Prior infection will not be accepted as proof of being vaccinated.  Evidence is emerging that people get better protection by being fully vaccinated compared with having had COVID-19.  A positive antibody test after a prior COVID-19 infection doesn't meet the requirement.  

  • Research has not yet shown how long you are protected from getting COVID-19 again after you recover from COVID-19.
  • Vaccination helps protect you from getting COVID-19 and from passing it to others even if you’ve already had COVID-19.

According to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), studies have shown that compared to the “natural immunity” in unvaccinated people who had COVID-19 illness, the immunity provided by COVID-19 vaccination in people who also had COVID-19 illness before is both stronger (higher antibody levels) and broader (can better protect against some of the new variant strains). 

In fact, one study showed that unvaccinated people who already had COVID-19 are more than 2 times as likely than fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19 again. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.

Therefore, as variants of COVID-19 continue to appear and to spread more widely, COVID-19 vaccination becomes even more important for those previously infected with COVID-19. The recently identified variant viruses are both more infectious and less likely to be prevented by antibodies against earlier forms of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Fortunately, the available vaccines continue to work well against all variants that have been identified so far. 

FCPS to Require Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Athletic Participation