On the day Gov. Kathy Hochul and top state officials considered adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the state’s list of required inoculations for students attending New York schools, Kinderhook Councilwoman Sally Hogan urged Ichabod Crane parents to pull their children out of school and teach them at home to protest mask and vaccination mandates.

Federal regulators are expected to approve the shot for children ages 5 to 11 this month. Hochul spoke with White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Jeff Zients, who called on all state governors to begin registering pediatricians to prepare for vaccinating children under 12 against COVID-19 when it is approved.

Several parents spoke out against the Ichabod Crane Central School District’s mask requirement and policy requiring vaccines for student-athletes this winter. Hogan has been homeschooling her elementary-age son for two years. She claimed the COVID vaccination is a means of secret gene therapy and masks produce facial deformities.

The number of new child COVID cases remains exceptionally high and has coincided with the start of school and the emergence of the more transmissible COVID delta variant. Cases of U.S. children testing positive for COVID-19 increased 6% from Sept. 23 to Oct. 7, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

Nearly 150,000 virus cases in children were added in the past week with more than 750,000 child cases in the past month. More than 6 million children have tested positive for the virus as of Oct. 7, according to the academy. More than 500 children have died of COVID-19 complications since the pandemic began, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ichabod Crane and the county’s five other school districts require students, staff and visitors to wear masks in school buildings except during certain activities. All districts require students who play indoor winter sports to be vaccinated, a policy districts adopted based on recommendations by the CDC and the Columbia County Department of Health.

Hogan said she and her husband made the decision to homeschool, calling masking a child “abuse.” Hogan said she has shared the short- and long-term effects of masks as a potential choking hazard to mental health problems to facial deformation. Hogan alleges ICC officials willfully ignored these facts from reputable doctors.

The CDC issued repeated statements that mask-wearing has no significant adverse health impact on wearers, young or old.

Hogan said three parents have reached out to her about homeschooling. She said the three intend to homeschool their children next year if there are vaccine requirements for all students. Who knows what will happen in 2022-23, but one thing is clear: the state and its school districts are circling toward universal student vaccinations.

Since the early 1960s, we have been vaccinating our children as soon as they come out of the womb to protect them from polio, mumps, measles and chickenpox. And it worked. COVID-19 is still killing people. Vaccinating children against it is inevitable. We can’t take a second more to achieve it.

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