Youth vaccination rate up to 41 percent in Shelton

Exterior view of the Board of Education offices in Shelton, Conn. Nov. 5, 2020.

Exterior view of the Board of Education offices in Shelton, Conn. Nov. 5, 2020.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON - Students and school staff, vaccinated or unvaccinated, must wear masks indoors at school, Superintendent Ken Saranich confirmed Wednesday.

Saranich said mask wearing is mandated by executive order of Gov. Ned Lamont - and that requirement will remain in place until at least Sept. 30, he said, unless otherwise changed by Lamont.

“This mask mandate currently only applies to indoors,” Saranich said. “Students and staff will not be required to wear masks outdoors unless the individual chooses to wear a mask.”

Saranich said if Lamont rescinds or extends this executive order, the school district would communicate any changes to the community. The district is finalizing other rules for the Sept. 8 reopening, he said, and following Naugatuck Valley Health District guidance.

This announcement comes as recently released state data shows the number of fully vaccinated children in Shelton between ages 12 and 17 sits at 41 percent, a 5 percent jump from a week ago.

Overall, state data shows that, through Aug. 12, 1,521 of the 3,103 city children (49 percent) in the 12-17 age group have had the first dose; 1,296, or 41.77 percent, have been fully vaccinated.

Compared to other age groups in the city, that remains low. For those ages 65 and older, 93 percent (7,460 of a total 7,991) have been fully vaccinated. For ages 45-64, that stands at nearly 70 percent (9,156 of 13,126); 63 percent (5,732 of 9,054) for ages 25-44; and 64 percent (1,995 of 3,127) for those 18-24.

Board of Education Chair Kathy Yolish said Saranich will be reconvening the district’s COVID Operations Committee on Aug. 25 to further discuss reopening plans.

“Ken continues to have meetings every Tuesday via Zoom with the governor and (the state Department of Education) with hopes of further direction and updated guidelines,” Yolish said, “But all we’ve received is that everyone in schools - vaccinated or not - must mask up.

Yolish said she was hopeful that once the vaccine receives full FDA approval and more data becomes available, there would be less reluctance to get vaccinated.