Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #301: September 23, 2021

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery. Today we look at:

  • Changes to Florida’s school quarantine rules    
  • Booster shots in Colorado nursing homes
  • Vaccine distribution
  • School mask requirements
  • State proof-of-vaccination requirements and policies
  • Federal responses

We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements to vaccine-related policies. We will keep you abreast of major developments—especially those affecting your daily life. Want to know what we covered Tuesday? Click here.

Upcoming news

What is changing in the next four days?

Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, Sept. 22, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said he would announce a new vaccine incentive initiative on Thursday. DeWine said the initiative would be aimed at younger residents. The initiative follows Ohio’s Vax-A-Million program, which gave out $5 million in prizes to people who got vaccinated. 

Since our last edition

What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.

Colorado (Democratic trifecta): On Sept. 21, Gov. Jared Polis (D) said the state would begin administering booster coronavirus vaccinations in nursing homes this week. He said the state would begin administering boosters to other residents once the FDA approves them for other groups. He also said the state would launch an at-home coronavirus testing program, and open four new community vaccination sites.

Connecticut (Democratic trifecta): On Sept. 22, Gov. Ned Lamont (D) called a proclamation calling the Connecticut General Assembly into special session beginning Sept. 27 to extend the coronavirus public health emergency declaration.

Florida (Republican trifecta): On Sept. 22, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced that asymptomatic students in public schools who’ve come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 will not necessarily need to quarantine at home. DeSantis said the quarantine decision for asymptomatic students would be left up to parents, but that symptomatic students or students that test positive would still be required to stay home.  

Wyoming (Republican trifecta): On Sept. 21, Gov. Mark Gordon (R) activated 95 National Guard soldiers to assist with the COVID-19 effort at 24 different hospitals around the state. Tasks will include administering COVID-19 tests and overseeing food services. 

Vaccine distribution

We last looked at vaccine distribution in the Sept. 21 edition of the newsletter. As of Sept. 22, the states with the highest vaccination rates as a percentage of total population (including children) were:

The states with the lowest rates were:

School mask requirements

Read more: School responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during the 2021-2022 academic year

We last looked at school mask requirements on Sept. 16. Since then, no states have changed their school mask requirement policies.

State proof-of-vaccination requirements and policies

Read more: State government policies about proof-of-vaccination (vaccine passport) requirements

State governments have enacted various rules around the use of proof-of-vaccination requirements. In some cases, states have banned state or local governments from requiring that people show proof of vaccination. Other states have assisted in the creation of digital applications—sometimes known as vaccine passports—that allow people to prove their vaccination status and, in some cases, bypass COVID-19 restrictions.  


  • Twenty states have passed legislation or issued orders prohibiting proof-of-vaccination requirements at some or all levels of government. 
  • Four states have assisted in the creation of digital vaccination status applications. 

Since Sept. 16, no state has banned proof-of-vaccination requirements or rolled out a digital vaccine status application. 

Federal responses

Read more: Political responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

On Sept. 22, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized COVID-19 booster shots using Pfizer’s vaccine for people 65 and older and people with medical conditions that make them vulnerable to severe cases of COVID-19. The FDA also authorized booster shots for people whose work makes them more likely to contract the virus.

On Sept. 22, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended restrictions on nonessential travel at the Canadian and Mexican borders through October 21.

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of other federal, state, and local government activity, private industry responses, and lawsuits related to the pandemic. 

On Wednesday, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) announced that athletes hoping to compete in the Beijing Winter Olympics will need to provide proof of vaccination by Nov. 1. The Winter Olympics will commence Feb. 4, 2022.