The students are Ashland High School Student Body Co-Chairs Luke Seely and Josh Datz. Datz says their vaccine mandate proposal was informed by examples from other school districts.
âWe really took inspiration from the decision made by the LA Unified School District,â says Datz. “And their decision was that they would be able to verify that students were vaccinated and that unvaccinated students would enter their independent online study program.”
Datz says demanding vaccines is crucial because masking and social distancing alone is not enough. He and Seely cite an incident where a student tested positive for COVID after the first day of an incoming student retreat, as the reason there should be a vaccine warrant.
âOur reasoning for this plea is that this is the only way forward to get us out of this pandemic,â Datz said. âIt’s the way for us to ensure public health, it is the way for us to ensure the health of our economy, the health of our nation. But I think we have to be personal about it, say it’s about what I can do for my neighbor.
Datz and Seely created the petition after meeting the school board with Jackson County Medical Director Jim Shames.
âIt was in response to the fact that out of this meeting we didn’t see a lot of direct action,â says Seely. âWe didn’t feel like there was some sort of overall commitment to really dive into the details of this policy and see how viable it was. So we created this petition just like the community members ourselves to say, look, that’s what the public is saying right now. “
Teachers and school staff will already be under vaccination mandate as of October 18.
The school board is meeting again on October 11 and Datz and Seely are hopeful that the mandate will be on the agenda.