Montgomery County Public Schools student-athletes are no longer required to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, according to updated guidance released this week.

In a community message, the district’s athletics department wrote: “Vaccination for COVID-19 is strongly recommended for student-athletes, but is no longer required.”

The change, the message said, is due to “community transmission levels, vaccination rates, and analysis of activities (mostly outdoors).”

The change begins with summer conditioning activities and fall sports.

MCPS announced in September that it would have a vaccination requirement for participation in athletics programs. Religious exemptions were not allowed until February, in time for the spring sports season.

The original mandate drew skepticism and confusion from many in the community who noted that the requirement was stricter than what is required of employees, who can instead opt for weekly testing and cite religious beliefs as a reason to not get a shot.


The message from the athletics department this week said that “vaccination requirements are subject to change, pending the latest guidance” from local health officials.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at