ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The debate over COVID safety measures like masks was already a topic of debate. Now, a suggestion on mandating vaccines for children who are eligible could be stirring the pot once again.

Just like any other school-required vaccine, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman is calling on COVID-19 vaccines to be mandated to students, once available to those under the age of 12.

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This comes as 1,500 students in the county are currently in quarantine after COVID outbreaks in schools.

“COVID should be added to the list of vaccines that our students are required to get to go to school,” said Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman.

Pittman reaffirmed his support Tuesday to mandate vaccines for students saying the current number of COVID outbreaks in schools is concerning.

“It really is unacceptable that so many children are being quarantined and kept out of school as a result of positive cases in the school,” said Pittman.

This comes as the county’s public schools announced two weeks ago all teachers, support staff and high school student-athletes must be vaccinated or tested weekly by Nov. 22.

But not everyone is on board with the idea.

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“I don’t agree with it. If that’s the case, my son won’t be going to school,” said parent, Chuck Tippett.

Parents like Chuck Tippett say although he supports the vaccines, mandating them for all students goes too far.

“What if they get a shot and in five years something goes wrong you know?” said Tippett.

Right now 1,500 students and 30 staff members are in quarantine in the county, with 194 students and 23 staff members having active covid cases.

“I’m just tired of the frustration of quarantining and the unnecessary fears,” said parent, Katie Getty.

Katie Getty says she agrees students should be vaccinated, but the decision should be up to the parents.

“I don’t know if i feel like its a good idea to mandate it. I think its great vaccines are going to be available to children and if you were to ask me today, I would choose to get my son vaccinated,” said Getty.

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The county says they are already prepared and ready to give those doses when the vaccine is approved by the FDA and made available for children ages five to 11. As of now, they are only available for kids 12 and older under Emergency Authorization.

Kelsey Kushner