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High school students in Cape Coral facing COVID vaccine requirements to complete certain programs

Mariner High School
Posted at 9:19 PM, Nov 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-20 11:20:19-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Kelly Leonov says when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, she trust's her son's judgment.

"It's his decision not to get the shot I support him," said Leonov.

His decision could also mean he can't continue in the Certified Nursing Assistant Program at Mariner High School.

Kelly says her son Nick, now a senior has been working since his Freshman year to be a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).

She says he's now been given an ultimatum, get vaccinated or get out of the program.

"Literally having to choose between and education or the shot," said Leonov.

She says he's been told he has until December 6 to get the first shot or be dropped from the program run at the school by Lee Health.

Seniors like Nick have to participate in what is known as clinicals to become certified.

Clinicals mean working in Lee Health facilities where the vaccine is now going to be required.

"I can't really fault the school or blame them because they are just following what the hospital told them," said Leonov.

We reached out to Lee Health who gave us this statement:

"As an enrolled Medicare and Medicaid provider, Lee Health must follow the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rules as a condition of participation. CMS recently established new rules that all health care workers get vaccinated or get an exemption from vaccination by Dec. 6.
This includes students in our training programs. Students who comply with the policy will be allowed to continue in their studies."

Kelly says, according to the school, if un-vaccinated students can't get an exemption, they'll have to drop out of the program as of next semester.

She says they were just told this earlier this week.

"It would have been nice to get more of a heads up than literally finding out this week, I think it was Monday," said Leonov.

Nick's mom says leaving the program would up-end a passion Nick's had since he was little, earning him the family nickname, "doctor Nick."

"If somebody had a splinter, he was like, mom let me do it. And he would get out his little medical equipment and be really precise and he was just always interested," said Leonov.

From interested to now disappointed, Kelly is still hoping for a last-minute solution that would allow her son to stay on the road to becoming doctor Nick.