A private school in Miami’s fashionable design district sent a letter to its faculty and staff last week about getting vaccinated against Covid-19. In contrast to institutions that have promoted and even facilitated the vaccination of teachers, the school, Centner Academy, did the opposite: One of its co-founders, Leila Centner, informed the staff “with a very heavy heart” that they had a shot they would have to stay away from students.
In an example of how misinformation threatens the nation’s efforts to vaccinate enough Americans to get the coronavirus under control, Ms. Centner, who has frequently shared anti-vaccine posts on Facebook, claimed in the letter that “recent reports Unvaccinated people who were negatively influenced by their interaction with vaccinated people showed up. “
“Even in our own population, we have at least three women with menstrual cycles who are affected after spending time with a vaccinated person,” she wrote, reiterating the false claim that vaccinated people somehow pass the vaccine on to others and thereby their reproductive systems can affect. (You can’t do both.)
In the letter, Ms. Centner gave employees three options:
Let the school know if they have already been vaccinated so they can be physically kept away from the students.
Let the school know if they will receive the vaccine before the end of the school year “as we cannot allow recently vaccinated people to be around our students until more information is known”;
Wait until the school year is over to get vaccinated.
Teachers who receive the vaccine over the summer will not be allowed to return, the letter said until clinical trials on the vaccine are completed, and then only “if there is still a job available at that point” – which is what the teachers are doing effectively dependent on avoiding the vaccine.
Recognition…Romain Maurice / Getty Images for Haute Living
Ms. Centner asked the faculty and staff to fill out a “confidential” form stating whether they had received a vaccine – and if so, what and how many doses – or planned to be vaccinated. The form requires staff to acknowledge that the school is taking legal action to protect students if it is determined that I have not answered these questions correctly.
Ms. Centner addressed questions on the matter to her publicist, who said in a statement that student safety was a top priority throughout the pandemic. The statement reiterated false claims that people who were vaccinated “may transmit something from their bodies”, leading to adverse reproductive problems in women.
“We are not one hundred percent sure that the Covid injections are safe, and there are too many unknown variables for us to be comfortable at the moment,” the statement said.
The Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and many other agencies have concluded that the coronavirus vaccines currently used in the United States in an emergency are safe and effective.
The Centner Academy opened in 2019 for preschoolers up to eighth grade and has applied as a “happiness school” that focuses on the mindfulness and emotional intelligence of children. The school prominently promotes support for “medical freedom from prescribed vaccines” on its website.
Ms. Centner started the school with her husband, David Centner, a technology and electronic tolling entrepreneur. Everyone donated a lot to the Republican Party and the Trump re-election campaign while giving much smaller sums to the local Democrats.
In February, the Centners welcomed a special guest to speak to students: Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the well-known anti-vaccine activist. (Mr Kennedy was suspended from Instagram a few days later for promoting misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines.) That month, the school hosted a zoom talk with Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, a New York pediatrician often quoted by anti-vaccination activists.
Kitty Bennett contributed to the research.