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Centralia College president explains lanyards for vaccinated students

(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Centralia College will pay students $100 to get vaccinated and then give them a lanyard as proof.

President Bob Mahrbacher told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show it’s an all-volunteer program to incentivize students to get vaccinated.

“We can either have masks for all or we can choose to have people volunteer their vaccination status and then let them go maskless,” Mahrbacher explained.

Dori said he’s heard from parents who are concerned about identification that makes obvious the students who have and have not been vaccinated — such as lanyards. Mahrbacher confirmed they will have something, whether a lanyard or a bracelet, for students who have been vaccinated.

“We’re putting in a new student ID system, and students will be able to use that to attach their ID card to,” Mahrbacher said.

To the families who call it a form of public shaming based on decisions about private medical information, Mahrbacher told Dori, “We’ll be putting out a lot of information to make sure people aren’t making assumptions about other people based on whether they choose to participate in this program or not. It is all voluntary. There will be people who are vaccinated who choose not to participate, there will always be people who, for medical reasons or other, can’t get vaccination. Those who can get vaccination help those who can’t for medical reasons, by reducing the community spread.”

The school is also offering $100 cash cards for students and faculty that get vaccinated. Mahrbacher said they’re still working on the specific rules as to whether they can use federal money for those incentives.

Again, he said it’s an all-volunteer program that lets students, who range from high school running start participants to adults in their 50s, to make the choice for themselves. Those who have had Covid are not eligible for the program — they must have had the vaccine.

“I don’t think the incentive program is going to sway those who have specific reasons for not getting vaccinated,” Mahrbacher said. “I think it’s most likely to sway those who are just procrastinating.”

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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