Centner Academy’s Questionable COVID Policies Cause Controversy

More Americans are stepping up and getting the COVID vaccine.

More Americans are stepping up and getting the COVID vaccine.

Jessica Vanderbeck, Reporter

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, schools across the country have been establishing new procedures to keep students safe. However, Centner Academy, a private school in Miami, Florida, announced some questionable regulations regarding the vaccine.

Located in the luxurious Design District of Miami, Centner Academy describes itself as “The Brain School.” Founded in 2018, the married co-founders David and Leila Centner established the school due to being “unhappy” with the other schools in the surrounding area. Teaching students from 4-12th grade, it claims to educate students on how to think instead of what to think. The school has sparked interest not only from parents who desire alternative education, but also anti-vaccine parents.

Tuition is between $15,000 to almost $30,000 dollars annually and no vaccine is required for enrollment. Several anti-vaccine speakers have been to the school to lecture students. While there is no traditional nurse’s office, the school offers students the services of a chiropractor and encourages meditation with crystals for healing. Centner Academy has not addressed vaccines as a requirement prior to enrollment since its founding in 2018. Due to the pandemic, the school’s lack of a vaccine requirement has generated controversy in the community.

In April 2021, employees at Centner were told that if they had gotten the coronavirus vaccine, they had to notify the founders of the school. In addition, vaccinated teachers were not allowed to engage in contact with students “until more information is known” about the vaccines. The founders also asked those considering to vaccinate to wait until the summer months to receive it, claiming that “there will be time for the potential transmission or shedding onto others to decrease.” Recently, the school staff told parents that if their children received the vaccine, they had to quarantine for 30 days before returning to school. However, both of the most common vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, use weakened RNA, so the possibility of the virus being transmitted is next to none. While vaccinated people can still catch the virus and transmit it, the vaccine greatly lowers the risk..

Prior to the pandemic, schools required mandatory vaccinations for most students, with rare exception. This issue had not previously been one of controversy. Recently, government efforts to enforce and enact public safety rules in schools and the work force have been met with political resistance. Following President Biden’s announcement that workplaces with 100 employees or more were required to receive the vaccine, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis indicated he would use Florida resources to challenge any vaccine mandates.