Columbia County Public Health recommends vaccines for kids 12 and up

PORTAGE, Wis. — Kids ages 11 and under are being asked to mask up. That’s the newest guidance from the Wisconsin DHS, amid rising case numbers and concerns for the Delta variant.

Vaccine rates for kids 12 to 17 remain low, with less than 40% in the age group fully vaccinated. On Tuesday, Columbia County Health Services announced their endorsement of kids between 12 to 17 getting vaccinated, citing the low rate of vaccines and the high number of new confirmed cases.

Many schools in the county, however, have indicated that vaccines will not be required for their students. They say it’s a personal choice.

“Every family has a different situation,” said Jason LeMay, Pardeeville School District’s Superintendent.

LeMay has been in his current role since July 1, formerly the principal of Pardeeville High School.

“We are doing our best to offer the best opportunity we can for education for our students,” said LeMay. He cites students’ mental health as a primary concern, along with learning loss and changing guidelines from the CDC.

“I think we’ve seen a lot of changes in the need to be flexible and pivot,” he said.

The past year and a half has posed many challenges for school administrators, but LeMay says that amid conversations about what Fall will look like, he’s grateful for the cooperation of the community.

“Parents, students and staff… the community as a whole have been very willing to work with us and do what’s best for our students.”