NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Monday is the last day New York City public school students can get their first COVID-19 shot in order to be fully vaccinated by the first day of school.

Children ages 12 through 17 are only eligible for the Pfizer shot, which requires a five-week period to be fully vaccinated.

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But, as CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, some teachers and families want more options.

The city’s schools plan to welcome all students back into the classroom on Sept. 13, regardless of their vaccination status. Many parents and teachers are concerned since learning from home is no longer an option.

“There are many principals who don’t have the adequate amount of space, especially for our middle schoolers and high schoolers,” parent Cynthia Vacca said.


Vacca, of Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, has a son in middle school and a daughter in high school. Both are vaccinated, but she says new COVID variants have them worried about returning to the classroom. They’re also concerned for children living in multi-generational homes possibly bringing the virus home to vulnerable loved ones.

“It’s sad that our family environment is being dictated by this option not being available. The option is either send them to school or, you know, not see grandma and grandpa for two years,” Vacca said.

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Many teachers, like Aixa Rodriguez, feel the same. She said the Department of Education should at the very least be planning a remote option.

“The last thing we want is kids who are stressed out in class. So, we want to make them feel reassured by planning ahead because if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. They need to plan for remote options,” Rodriguez said.


But there are some people who say in-person should be the only option.

Alexander has a 10-year-old daughter and a vaccinated 14-year-old son. She said with the DOE’s past failure to ensure all kids had devices and adequate internet, no child can afford another year of remote learning.

“Unless they are not being transparent and that there is some secret remote option that’s been developed, I don’t have confidence that in five weeks they could develop a kind of remote option that would be appropriate for any child at this point,” Alexander said.

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And even as COVID cases continue to rise, Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he has no plans to make a change for schools.