Lizzie DeKraai, English teacher (Photo by Arati Periyannan)
Lizzie DeKraai, English teacher (Photo by Arati Periyannan)

Verbatim: Students, teachers talk vaccines, booster mandate

County updates vaccine mandate for public schools to be put in place for the fall

January 25, 2022

Santa Clara County has recently changed its definition of vaccination to include booster shots in addition to the first two shots of a COVID-19 vaccine. The mandate goes into effect in July and will be required for students to attend public schools. We approached Palo Alto High School students and staff to gauge their opinions on the revised mandate. Here’s what they had to say:


“I think everyone should be vaccinated and boosted to prevent the spread of COVID. Anecdotally, I do not have any students who are choosing not to get vaccinated and boosted. I know I have students who are not allowed to, so I think it would be positive because they would have to be vaccinated to come to school. That would encourage their parents and guardians to make the right choice for the health of the student.”

— Lizzie DeKraai, English teacher


“Certainly, teachers and students have to have it, so you can just put me down as 100% in favor of vaccination and boosters for anyone. And I don’t think there’s any excuse not to.”

— John Ralston, PAUSD substitute teacher


“It’s better to have a third shot required because recently there’s been a really large percentage of Paly students who got COVID, and overall I think it’s just better to require vaccination” 

— Brian Lee, senior


“I think requiring the vaccine and booster is good, like if there were any issues with people not being able to go to school, I think that’s on the school to accommodate for that. But I think requiring the vaccine is good.”

— Sean He, junior

Mads Ernst, junior (Photo by Arati Periyannan)

People should be vaccinated and boosted so that kids aren’t getting sick, and it’s safer for the teachers who don’t really have a choice. I don’t like being sick, so I think that if everybody was vaccinated and boosted, it would be less likely that I was sick. I can understand why people are like ‘Oh, my freedom’ but like, come on, just be safe, you know?”

— Mads Ernst, junior


“I think it’s a really good decision for our school and the community as a whole because it will make us all safer and will hopefully prevent schools from closing again if there is another big surge in cases. It is a simple thing that we can all do to keep each other safe, and I think it will have a really positive effect overall.” 

— Kiana Feldis, sophomore


I think some people might be upset about it, but it’s a smart precaution that should be taken. We’ve seen how many COVID cases we had in the last month alone, so we should be doing everything we can to prevent it from happening again. I don’t think it should affect Paly in any way. As long as people follow the precautions, we should all be able to go on with our lives like we did before.”

— Gal Shoval, freshman


Declan Baker, freshman (Photo by Arati Periyannan)

I think it’s safer for everybody. In general, it’s better if we all have more immunity to COVID.”

— Declan Baker, freshman


“I support the mandate because I think it’s important that people get vaccinated. This way, we can keep as many people safe as possible. Especially in the school setting where students are in classrooms together every day, it’s even more important that we stop the spread of COVID. Hopefully after people get their third shot, less people will get COVID, and we can keep more people healthy.”

— Polina Van Hulsen, freshman

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