WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — DC Public Schools (DCPS) said it is requiring COVID-19 vaccines for students 12 and older and testing before the new academic year starts.

It comes at a time when the CDC is relaxing its guidelines for quarantining and testing, and it’s a move that, as you might expect, is getting mixed reactions.

“He had the two vaccines plus the booster,” said Leonardo Gutierrez, talking about his son, Dominic.

Gutierrez is happy about the new policy, even though it doesn’t apply to his Dominic, who is only 11 years old.

“Definitely, we will continue doing vaccines for kids and we as parents, we’re going to go and push this with friends,” Gutierrez said.

People in the District still are taking advantage of COVID vaccination centers and mobile clinics.

“Dov’s gonna turn one tomorrow and he just got vaccinated, and Ori, he’s going to be three in a month and he got vaccinated. too,” said Rachael Slivka, a parent and an emergency room doctor.

While her children aren’t in a public school yet, Slivka thinks the policy is a good idea but she acknowledges the current vaccines don’t prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“So that could be frustrating. But hopefully, they’ll come up with boosters that will be more tailored to the current variants,” Slivka said.

Although the CDC no longer recommends testing asymptomatic people without known exposures in most community settings, DCPS is requiring all students to take a test before school.

“Sometimes it seems like they’re kind of grasping a little bit at what to do. I think it’s really hard, the community spread is so wide that tracing isn’t really helpful anymore,” Slivka said.

Schools will distribute rapid test kits from Tuesday, Aug. 23 through Friday, Aug. 26. You can pick up a test kit at your school on Tuesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., or on Wednesday and Thursday from 12 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Students in grades K-12 will need to take a COVID-19 test on Sunday, Aug. 28 and Pre-K students will need to take their test on Wednesday, Aug. 31.

Masks are optional and DCPS won’t be doing daily health screenings like last year.

If a student develops COVID-like symptoms during the school day, families will be contacted and a test kit will be sent home with the student.

You can view a replay of the Back-to-School Community Telephone Town Hall here.

For more information click here.