How do DeMatha’s Student-Athletes Feel About the New Vaccine Mandate?


Thomas Krukar , Editor-in-Chief

Following President Joe Biden’s new approval for vaccine mandates, many schools and businesses have instituted a vaccine mandate for students and workers. After careful consideration, DeMatha has decided to put in place a vaccine mandate for those participating in a sport. They are not currently requiring the vaccine for non-student-athletes, though some students and faculty members suspect the vaccine will soon be required for all students.

Just as many of the new vaccine mandates have been met with skepticism across the country, students at DeMatha have mixed feelings about the school’s new mandate. Some students believe that it is not within the school’s rights to force a new vaccine upon students, while others are of the opinion that the school is doing what is necessary to ensure the health and safety of their students. 

Senior baseball player Nick Doyle had Covid-19 in late September 2021 and has not yet been vaccinated. DeMatha’s athletic trainers and his doctor are determining when the vaccine mandate will apply for him to continue participation in team activities. Nick is one of several students who believe that the school should not have instituted a vaccine mandate. He believes that by requiring the vaccine to play sports, student-athletes are being looked at more as boxes to check off rather than individuals with their own beliefs and opinions.

Nick said, “I feel that the new vaccine mandate for student-athletes puts students and parents in a difficult situation that pressures them to make an impulsive decision, and a decision that some might feel is not in the best interest for their safety.”

While he doesn’t agree with the school’s vaccine mandate, Nick does understand why the school put the mandate in place. “I realize that participating in athletics is a privilege,” Nick said.

Still, Nick feels that the school’s original policy of weekly testing for unvaccinated athletes was the best way to go. Nick said, “This option is probably the safest option that still allows for people to make their own decisions about their health and safety, and it does not force families to sacrifice personal beliefs for the sake of their son being allowed to play a sport.” 

Colin Roman, a senior soccer player, disagrees with Nick. Colin thinks that the school did the right thing in requiring the vaccine for students who participate in sports.

“I feel like it’s the right decision to require the Covid-19 vaccine for athletes because they spend a lot of time together without masks,” Colin said. He mentioned that athletes on the same sports team have a higher chance of spreading and contracting the virus because of the large amount of time they spend together on and off the field.

Colin does not see the requirement as an infringement on individual rights because “it’s a choice to get the vaccine; if you don’t want to get it you don’t have to, you just can’t play sports.”

Even though Colin agreed with DeMatha’s mandate for student-athletes, he doesn’t believe that there should be a vaccine mandate for all DeMatha students. “We wear masks in school basically at all times, and most students are already vaccinated, so I don’t think a vaccine mandate for all students is really necessary.” 

Senior lacrosse player Dylan McKelvy is of the belief that the vaccine should not be mandated for student-athletes at DeMatha. Dylan was unvaccinated up until a couple of weeks ago, when he got his first dose of the vaccine in order to attend lacrosse workouts.

Dylan thinks that the vaccine mandate is both unfair and unnecessary, but he wouldn’t go so far as to say that it is an infringement of personal rights. Dylan said, “I don’t think that there should be much of a Covid policy, as I believe that people should have the individual choice to take as many precautions as they deem necessary.” Dylan, like many other Americans, believes that Covid-19 restrictions should be lifted as a result of the high number of vaccinations and the lowering death rate.

DeMatha’s new vaccine mandate magnifies the different beliefs of students at the school, and the mixed opinions on the new vaccine mandate are reflective of the division of the country as a whole.

CORRECTION: In the third paragraph, it was incorrectly implied that a student-athlete who recently had Covid would not need to be vaccinated to comply with DeMatha’s vaccine requirements. That is not true and it is not DeMatha’s policy that an athlete who had Covid is exempt from the vaccine requirement.