A Miami private school that came under scrutiny for its Covid-19 protocols has reversed course, saying students will not have to quarantine at home 30 days after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
Centner Academy changed its policy after receiving a letter from the Florida Department of Education last Thursday saying the school’s quarantine rule was being investigated.
Centner’s chief operating officer, Bianca Erickson, wrote back to the DOE Friday saying the school “will continue to be in compliance with all applicable laws.”
Erickson said when the school announced the 30-day stay-at-home requirement, it did so with the intention of offering a remote learning option.
“Please note, however, that the plan as announced was not implemented prior to receipt of your letter and we will not pursue any such measures,” Erickson wrote. “We conclude our response by confirming that Centner Academy is not requesting any student to quarantine at home due to vaccination status.”
In its letter to the school, the state Department of Education said the school has “various obligations under the law — specifically, both attendance and health, safety and welfare requirements.”
“To that end, let me encourage you to review your policies and, if necessary, immediately conform them to applicable law,” wrote the education department’s senior chancellor, Jacob Oliva, adding failure to abide by the state’s requirements would jeopardize the schools’ scholarship eligibility, both now and in the future.
Centner letter makes claims of vaccine shedding
The school previously asked parents to keep their children home for 30 days if the child received a Covid-19 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 to parents 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’s unsubstantiated claims about adverse reactions non-vaccinated people could have by “interacting with people who have been vaccinated” have not been supported by research by the Centers for Disease Control, Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health or World Health Organization.
Centner Academy co-founder David Centner said in a statement last week the policy was a “prudent precautionary measure.”
“To be clear, the school leadership does not believe that one who is vaccinated can infect another person with COVID,” he added. “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 said.
In April, Centner Academy asked its employees to wait until the end of the school year to get vaccinated, but still cautioned if they did, they would not 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.