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Encouraging school families to get children vaccinated

“We haven't had any negative push back"
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Posted at 5:34 PM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 17:40:01-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Some schools are encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated to regain a return to full school events and activities.

Two private, Catholic schools are already reaching out to school families.

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Katherine Spillman, principal, Mount St. Mary Academy.

“That extra step that we can make by having our families take their daughters to be vaccinated,” explained Katherine Spillman, principal, Mount St. Mary Academy.

Students at Mount St. Mary in the Town of Tonawanda have been able to be in class five days a week because of a smaller population.

At the all-girls school leaders continue to encourage their families to get their daughters vaccinated.

“That gets us one step closer to this new opportunity to really be back together in the fullest extent as community,” Spillman said.

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Students at Mount St. Mary in the Town of Tonawanda.

Principal Spillman says they initially sent a letter to school families in April before the Pfizer vaccine was approved for younger teens.

The letter explained the safety of the vaccine for those 16 years of age and over.

“Have you heard from parents that are — not buying into it yet?" Buckley asked.

“As a school, we've encouraged our families. We haven't had any negative push back,” replied Spillman.

Dr. Kathleen Grisanti is a Mount St. Mary parent and one of the two doctors who signed the school letter. Grisanti is also president and medical director at Pediatric & Adolescent Urgent are in Williamsville.

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Dr. Kathleen Grisanti, president & medical director, Pediatric & Adolescent Urgent are in Williamsville.

“As a pediatrician, I feel very, very strongly that we need to get as many of the children vaccinated as quickly as we can,” stated Dr. Grisanti.

Dr. Grisanti says there is too much misinformation circulating and at this all-girls school, it was about the vaccine and fertility.

“I think it went a long ways with the parents of the daughters at Mount St. Mary's that they were kind of reassured and say okay we're not getting the most up to date information,” noted Dr. Grisanti.

The school says the goal is to get 95 percent of its students vaccinated for the next school year.

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Inside Mount St. Mary classroom.

“Honestly, I would love to see 100-percent, but I understand that there are definitely going to be a few people that may not be eligible or may have some health issues that would prevent them getting it,” responded Dr. Grisanti.

Canisius High School in Buffalo is also encouraging its families to get students vaccinated.

“We have no plans to mandate that but we are encouraging them to be vaccinated because it does open up so many possibilities,” explained Ginger Geoffery, communications director.

Geoffery says if Canisius students are fully vaccinated by the fall, it could remove some restrictions.

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Ginger Geoffery, communications director, in Zoom interview.

“At the lunchroom tables, this year we have plastic barriers and they have to be spread apart, so if students are vaccinated, we might be able to lose the plastic barriers — there's a lot of different possibilities,” declared Geoffery.

The Jesuit education provides service projects, such as overnight retreats and international trips, but those have been on hold due to COVID.

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Canisius High School letter to families.

Geoffery says there’s mixed reaction from school families on vaccinations.

“Some are — yes sign me up right away — but we have others that have reasons that maybe they don’t want to have their sons vaccinated,” replied Geoffery.

But Geoffery says they school has not set any vaccine goals.

“I would suspect we are probably not going to get 100-percent vaccination here — just like the general population,” Geoffery remarked.

But both Geoffery and Spillman say maybe with more vaccinated students next fall, it might be a way of removing restrictions and masks.

“There’s a lot of different possibilities that could open up if students are vaccinated,” Geoffery said.

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Mount St. Mary student wearing mask in classroom.

“I’m ready — for next year for us to see smiling faces again,” Spillman reflected