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New York City will require Covid-19 vaccinations for those public school students and staff participating in certain “high-risk” sports.

The requirement pertains to student athletes and coaches within the Public School Athletic League, mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday.

Sports falling under the requirement include “football, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, lacrosse, rugby and bowling,” de Blasio said in a tweet.

Student athletes and coaches will have to have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine before the start of competitive play, the mayor told a local radio station on Friday morning. 

The reasoning for bowling being on the high-risk list, despite not being a contact sport like rugby or wrestling, was because it is held indoors, de Blasio continued.

New York City has required all public employees, including K-12 teachers employed by the city, to be vaccinated or tested regularly. That is not quite as stringent as some states like Oregon, which will not accept testing in lieu of vaccination, or Washington, which is mandating vaccination for education staff, including those in state colleges and universities.

De Blasio said earlier this week, though, he did not expect to make vaccination mandatory for all students returning to in-person learning.

The vaccination requirement, affecting sports in the largest US school district, is not without precedent.

Earlier this month, the New York State Education Department issued guidance for the reopening of state schools, which encouraged Covid-19 screening testing for student athletes and vaccination for adults. The education department said high-risk sports and extracurricular activities “should be virtual or canceled” in areas of high community transmission unless all participants are fully vaccinated.

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