Orange County Schools votes not to require COVID-19 vaccines for athletes

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Orange County School Board met Monday night to vote on added health and safety measures for the upcoming school year.

The school system voted not to require COVID-19 vaccinations for athletes and employees and others involved in extracurricular activities

Protesters were lined up outside of the county courthouse Monday afternoon ahead of the school board's vote.

Penny King has a 16-year-old at Cedar Ridge High School who plays softball.

King said she chose to get the vaccine but said her child should have a choice.

"It should not be forced on her," King said. "If she does not want it, she shouldn't have to get it."

King, who said she lost her mother to COVID-19, said she got vaccinated because she feels like she's "lived her life."

"Don't force our kids that can make a decision," King added. "At 16, my child has a right to say no, mom. She has lost her nana to COVID and she still is like, 'mom I don't want to do it.'"

King added that students are already wearing masks.

Sarah Snipes, another parent, also spoke against mandating the vaccination.

"That board should not be making medical decisions for my healthy son, who just wants to play baseball," said Snipes, whose son is a rising senior at Orange High School. "It's not right."

The school system has already mandated face coverings for all students and staff members. The school board considering mandating vaccines for students who choose to participate in athletics, chorus, marching band or theater but ultimately changed the motion and decided not to require such measures..

The board did vote to make vaccinations mandatory for school employees once vaccines get full FDA approval.

WATCH: Orange County mask mandate in effect
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The mandate will be in effect for Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough buildings and businesses.

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