MCPS athletes gain religious exemption to vaccine mandate


Greer Vermilye

Spring athletes are not required to submit proof of vaccination to compete if they chose not to be vaccinated based on their religion.

By Samantha Wang

MCPS Athletics announced on February 11 that spring athletes would not be required to submit proof of vaccination to compete if they elected not to be vaccinated based on their religion.

The general vaccination mandate for MCPS athletes, which was implemented this past September for the winter and spring sports seasons, remains in place. School district officials decided to add the exemption ahead of the spring sports season due to the county’s high vaccination rate and low COVID-19 transmission rates. 

Some spring athletes doubt that the exemption significantly increased athletic participation at Whitman, but they believe that it may have done so in other parts of the county. 

“It’s great that MCPS is being inclusive,” said track team member Nethmini Perera, a junior. “I don’t think this will be applicable to students at Whitman as much as it would to other schools with more religiously affiliated students.” 

Varsity baseball player Cody Paul, a junior, expects that the policy change will increase interest in spring sports, boosting participation and the competitive spirit of Whitman and each of its rivals.

“Athletes who didn’t play before will now be eligible, so spring sports will definitely be more competitive,” Paul said. “Hopefully, the spring season is a completely normal one like the ones we had before COVID-19 hit.”

Boys tennis coach Jason Gohn said that by March 1st, most Whitman tennis players had already submitted proof of vaccination. However, Gohn said he is glad that athletes who didn’t want to get vaccinated due to their religion may now participate in the spring season. 

“More athletes within the county will definitely be able to play now,” Gohn said. “MCPS made the right call and this will hopefully get sports going in the right direction again.”