By Rebekah Riess and Gregory Lemos, CNN
A Miami private school, which previously asked teachers not to get the Covid-19 vaccine or they wouldn’t be allowed to return this school year, has now asked parents to keep their children home for 30 days if their child has received a vaccine dose, citing false and disproved claims about the impact of the inoculation, according to a letter sent to parents and obtained by CNN affiliate WSVN.
The letter from Centner Academy, read in part, “…if you are considering the vaccine for your Centner Academy student(s), we ask that you hold off until the Summer when there will be time for the potential transmission or shedding onto others to decrease,” WSVN reported.
“Because of the potential impact on other students and our school community, vaccinated students will need to stay at home for 30 days post-vaccination for each dose and booster they receive and may return to school after 30 days as long as the student is healthy and symptom-free,” the letter added, according to WSVN’s reporting.
The school had previously made unsubstantiated claims about adverse reactions non-vaccinated people could have by “interacting with people who have been vaccinated” that have not been identified in or supported by research by the Centers for Disease Control, Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health or World Health Organization.
All four agencies, backed by extensive research, have confirmed that vaccines are the best method of defense against the spread of the coronavirus and severe illness and death from Covid-19.
“Centner Academy’s policy was enacted as a prudent precautionary measure after much thoughtful deliberation,” Centner Academy co-founder David Centner said in a statement provided to CNN. “To be clear, the school leadership does not believe that one who is vaccinated can infect another person with COVID. Further, the school is not opining on whether a vaccinated person can negatively impact others.”
“However, due to voluminous anecdotal reports in circulation on this latter topic, we must err on the side of caution when making decisions that may impact the health of the school community. Until there are definitive and scientifically proven studies that refute these reports, we need to do what is best for our students and staff,” Centner added.
CNN has reached out to Centner Academy requesting a copy of the email sent to families.
The CDC, on its page dedicated to Myths and Facts about vaccines, says: “Vaccine shedding is the term used to describe the release or discharge of any of the vaccine components in or outside of the body. Vaccine shedding can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus. None of the vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. contain a live virus.”
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is approved for people ages 16 and older and has emergency use authorization (EUA) for children 12-15. Pfizer is seeking an EUA for a lower-dose vaccine for children 5 to 11.
The vaccines of two other US makers — Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen — are authorized for people 18 and older. The vaccines are being studied in younger ages.
Teachers warned in April
In April the Centner Academy asked its employees to wait until the end of the school year to get vaccinated, but still cautioned that if they did, they wouldn’t be allowed to return for the next academic year.
The school’s CEO and co-founder, Leila Centner, sent a letter to faculty and staff at the Centner Academy citing unsupported assertions about Covid-19 vaccines that contradicted a large body of evidence of the vaccines’ safety and efficacy from health experts.
Centner claimed in the letter that “it will be years before we have reliable information regarding the short- and long-term effects of the Covid-19 vaccines.”
Extensive testing has shown the three vaccines are both safe and effective, according to federal regulators.
When it opened in 2019, the Centner Academy described itself as the “first happiness school,” with an emphasis on mindfulness. Nearly 300 students attend the school, which offers preschool through middle school, with tuition peaking at $29,850 before fees, according to the school website.
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CNN’s Raja Razek and Scottie Andrew contributed to this report.