California Vaccine Mandate

Mariah Holston, Staff Writer

California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, announced that California will become the first state to implement a vaccine mandate for schools. California gov. states, “After implementing first-in-the-nation school masking and staff vaccination measures, California becomes the first state to announce plans to require student vaccinations – adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccinations required for schools, such as the vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella.

Students will be required to be vaccinated for in-person learning starting the term following FDA full approval of the vaccine for their grade span (7-12 and K-6).” On October 1, 2021, Governor Newsom formally disclosed the new vaccine mandate for all California school students. California gov. also states, “At a school in San Francisco, Governor Newsom announced plans to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccinations required to attend school in-person when the vaccine receives full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for middle and high school grades, making California the first state in the nation to announce such a measure. Following the other first-in-the-nation school masking and staff vaccination measures, Governor Newsom announced the COVID-19 vaccine will be required for in-person school attendance—just like vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, and more.”

Governor Newsom explains that the vaccine mandate has been implemented in order to protect students and staff and to keep them in the classroom. “The state already requires that students are vaccinated against viruses that cause measles, mumps, and rubella – there’s no reason why we wouldn’t do the same for COVID-19,” Newsome states, “Vaccines work. It’s why California leads the country in preventing school closures and has the lowest case rates. We encourage other states to follow our lead to keep our kids safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.” Those who choose to remain unvaccinated may still be enrolled in school; however, they can only participate in online instruction or “independent study” at their home.  California gov. explains, “Requirements established by regulation, not legislation, must be subject to exemptions “‘for both medical reasons and personal beliefs.’” The staff of California schools will also be required to be vaccinated. As of right now, all Kindergarten through 12th-grade staff are required to show proof of their vaccination status or be tested weekly, but the current requirements for vaccine verification and weekly testing will be transformed to the vaccine mandate. While Governor Gavin Newsom encourages individual schools to accelerate their own vaccine requirements, the state requirement will remain a “statewide” standard to guarantee the full vaccination of both students and staff.

According to Ap News, “Newsom said the mandate won’t take effect for all children until the U.S. government has finished fully vetting the vaccine for two age groups — 12 to 15 and 5 to 11. That means those in seventh to 12th grades probably will have until July to get their shots. It will be even longer for children in kindergarten through sixth grades because the government has yet to approve any COVID-19 vaccine for that age group.” California has some of the highest vaccine rates in the country, and Governor Newsom plans to keep strictly enforcing Covid vaccines to “end this pandemic”.