By Paul Gessler

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City High School athletes join the growing list of those required to be vaccinated.

This follows an enhanced vaccine policy, announced Tuesday for city employees.

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Athletes this year will need to be vaccinated by Nov. 1 to play other winter and spring sports.

This follows the district’s vaccinate-or-test policy for school staff.

City schools announced the new athlete policy in an overnight press release — saying students who are not vaccinated will be required to quarantine for 10 days if they have close contact and games could be forfeited.

“I had to have vaccines to even go to school, let alone to play (cut) sports,” said Mayor Scott.

Baltimore City will soon have a policy similar to the school district – get vaccinated by Oct. 18 or produce a weekly negative test.

This comes as the city’s relatively low positivity rate of 3.1 percent has more than *doubled* in four weeks. The policy includes medical and religious exemptions.

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“I think what we’re doing right now is a good first step,” said Bill Henry, Baltimore City Comptroller.

Baltimore health officials said nearly two-thirds of those in the city, eligible for the vaccine, have gotten at least one dose — about 56 percent are fully vaccinated.

“We know the vaccine works for sure. and, we know the vaccine keeps people out of the hospital and off ventilators for sure,” Mayor Scott.

The mayor said right now they’re relying on voluntary responses, but he believes city employee vaccination rates mirror the citywide numbers.

“As this protocol rolls out, the city will have more complete data related to the vaccination rates of its employees,” said Quinton Herbert, Baltimore City HR Director.

Some city services suffered as the result of outbreaks, recycling pickup was suspended last year for more than four months.

“I would also encourage private businesses in Baltimore to take similar steps in their own workplaces to further reduce our case counts and protect lives,” Dr. Letitia Dzirasa, Baltimore City Health Commissioner.

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The city said it will host vaccination clinics for employees and their families. City schools tell us to expect more details on expanded vaccine requirements for all employees in the coming days.

Paul Gessler