LCPS Mandates Vaccines for Athletes


Courtesy LCPS

At the September 14 School Board Meeting, Dr. Ziegler addressed concerns regarding the vaccine mandate.

Announced on Tuesday, August 31, Loudoun County Public School mandated Covid-19 Vaccinations for all VHSL winter and spring sport athletes. This includes offseason practices starting on November 8. The only exemptions are for student-athletes who cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition or a “bona fide” religious belief.

“Bona fide” means having a sincerely held religious objection to the mandate. “We are using the government help definition of religion which is a sincerely held belief. We are not asking for a priest or [religious leader] to sign off on that belief. We will ask individuals to fill out a form of some type for those who request a religious exemption,” said Dr. Scott Ziegler at the school board meeting on September 14th, 2021.  

LCPS will work with the Loudoun County Health Department (LCHD) to ensure all students who wish to be vaccinated have access to the COVID-19 vaccine. In the state of Virginia, a person over the age of 18 can receive the vaccine without parent permission.

“LCPS is committed to providing the safest learning environment possible for our students. This vaccination requirement for our student-athletes demonstrates our commitment to the safety of everyone within our schools and communities. While LCPS acknowledges this is a difficult decision for some families, it is a necessary step that we must take to limit disruptions to the learning environment, keep students safe and remain in in-person learning and athletics,” stated Dr. Ziegler in the release posted on

Varsity boys basketball coach and baseball assistant Anthony Eifler mirrored the sentiments of Dr. Ziegler. “I think ultimately, it’s probably a pretty good decision that they’ve got to sort of keep everybody’s best interest at at hand. And when it comes down to it, I mean, I do believe that the vaccine is a personal decision. But ultimately, the county has to do its job in protecting all players, all athletes,” he said.

For students who are unable to get vaccinated due to religious or medical reasons, have to submit to weekly covid testing. “[Non-vaccinated student-athletes] will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test result once per week and before returning to play after an exposure to COVID-19. LCPS will not permit students who do not comply with the vaccination requirement or testing requirement for students with medical or religious exemptions to participate in school sports or related activities,” Ziegler said.  

During the public comment at the school board meeting on Tuesday, September 14, there was a large outcry about the negative impact of this new mandate. Many complained that athletes’ mental health would suffer as they wouldn’t be able to play the sports they love and preached “My Body, My Choice.” 

Jacob Wesoky, a winter and spring track athlete, has been a public supporter of the FDA approved vaccine. “[This mandate] is a great decision. The vaccine is really the only way to protect yourself, so if you don’t get it, it is just really, extremely selfish. If you don’t participate in sports due to the vaccine then that is 100% on you,” Wesoky said. 

Fellow athlete Breanna Summers, Varsity girls basketball player and spring track member, said, “I feel like the mandate is fair, but at the same time, it’s a little iffy since you don’t really know exactly what everyone’s reason for getting vaccinated or not getting vaccinated is. But I do think that if you don’t have a true medical reason, get the vaccine.”

Superintendent Ziegler said at the School Board meeting, “Participation in athletics creates a higher risk for exposure to COVID-19 and also increases the risk of exposure to their classmates, school staff, and the community. LCPS recognizes the importance of vaccinating our students and employees as a crucial step in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and minimizing any disruption to in-person learning. The majority of past COVID-related disruptions to instruction for our high school students have come as a result of exposure during athletic activities.”