BOSTON (WHDH) - Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius discussed the possibility of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students during a school committee meeting Wednesday.

When asked about vaccine mandates by School Committee Member Lorena Lopera, Cassellius responded by saying education officials are waiting for more clearance regarding vaccinating children.

“The mumps, the rubella, the measles, chickenpox, all of those vaccines are required for students to attend school,” she said. “I suspect at some point we will be also requiring (the COVID-19) vaccine, but we’re waiting on the state’s lead on that.”

Cassellius added that the Food and Drug Administration has only given full authorization of the Pfizer vaccine to children ages 16 years and older, while those 5 years and older are under emergency use authorization.

“The unfortunate thing right now is the FDA has only cleared the Pfizer vaccine for 16 and older, so the state has not come through with any kind of vaccine mandate for our students,” Cassellius said. “I talked to the Boston health commission about this and I think until we have the full authorization for the vaccine, it’s hard for the state to make it a mandatory requirement for compulsory attendance in our schools, and obviously we’re waiting on that.”

Student-athletes in Boston Public Schools will not have to wait much longer to return to sports after a surge in COVID-19 cases led to a temporary pause.

Schools officials announced small practices can resume after Jan. 17, adding that if case counts improve, competition can return on Jan. 24.

“I’m a senior now. This is it for me. It’s my last chance to play and I want to proudly represent my school and city in league games,” Ryan Maziarka, who plays hockey at Boston Latin Academy, told the school committee.

His parent, Michael Maziarka, added, “Not playing sports is taking a toll on these kids. Their emotional well-being is at stake. Their mental health is critical.”

Education leaders pointed to a 154 percent increase in COVID-19 cases from the beginning of the new year compared to the week before winter break.

They say they’ll continue to look to the Public Health Commission for guidance.

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