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Student COVID vaccinations: California becomes first state to require them for kids 12 and up

Dayna Chung waits in the observation area with her kids, Ana Chung, 16, and Aaron Chung, 13, after they received their first Pfizer vaccine dose at Cesar Chavez Ravenswood Middle School in East Palo Alto on May 15, 2021. (Photo by Daniela Beltran B.)

In another aggressive effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure schools remain open, Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced a vaccine mandate for students ages 12 and older, making California the first state in the nation to require students to be fully vaccinated for in-person instruction.

The mandate would add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required immunizations, which includes mumps, measles and rubella. Newsom issued this order in the aftermath of similar mandates from the state's largest districts, Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified.

"We intend to do that once the FDA has fully approved the vaccine which will give us time to work with districts, give us time to work with parents and educators to build more trust and confidence," Newsom said.

Parents still have some time to get their students vaccinated. The state mandate will go into effect only once the federal Food and Drug Administration fully approves vaccines for those 12 and older. Upon FDA approval, students will have until the start of the following academic term, either January 1st or July 1st, to be fully vaccinated.

This mandate, however, doesn't just put the responsibility on students. All public school employees will be required to be vaccinated as soon as the mandate takes effect for students. Until now, teachers and staff were either required to be vaccinated or undergo regular testing for COVID-19; negative tests will no longer suffice.

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The state expects that based on current FDA timelines, students grades 7-12 will be required to be vaccinated by July 1, 2022.

Students who are currently too young to get the vaccine will be required to receive their doses as soon as they reach the required age, but they'll be given a "reasonable period of time to receive both doses."

The California Department of Public Health will develop the rules for personal and religious exemptions following a public comment period. Details for that process have not yet been released.

The mandate comes in the aftermath of Newsom's overwhelming victory in September's recall election, during which the governor leaned into mask and vaccine mandates.

A survey released this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that most families nationwide are willing to vaccinate their children.

California students who do not get fully vaccinated will be required to enroll in independent study, the only alternative to in-person instruction being offered this year.

Local officials react

Following news of the state mandate, Weekly editor Jeremy Walsh reached out to the Pleasanton Unified School District to see how Superintendent David Haglund reacted to Newsom's announcement.

"We welcome the state's vaccine mandates, and support any measure based on data and science that further protects the safety and health of our students, staff and community," Haglund said in a written statement Tuesday.

"We are grateful that 97.3% of Pleasanton students ages 12-17 have received one dose of an authorized COVID-19 vaccine and 82.9% are fully vaccinated here in Pleasanton. We hope to see similar numbers as the vaccines receive full approval for administering to students ages 5-11," he added.

The percentages Haglund provided reflect the entire Pleasanton community, not strictly those youth enrolled in PUSD, as the Alameda County Public Health Department only reports the data for an entire city or town, according to district officials.

Alameda County Superintendent of Schools L. K. Monroe also issued a written statement in support of Newsom's student vaccination mandate.

"When it comes to the safety of students and staff, vaccines are clearly the path forward. The safety measures we already have in place in schools across the county, including wearing masks, testing, and ventilation have all proven to be critical layers of protection, and are part of comprehensive safety efforts that include vaccines for students and staff. We appreciate that the state is prepared to invest in making that a priority," Monroe stated, adding:

"The future effective date of Governor Newsom's plan to mandate vaccines is also helpful for our local educational agencies to have time to plan and provides a long onramp to implementation. Currently, our school and districts are grappling with staffing shortages, implementation of COVID protocols, and declining enrollment, critical issues that need to be addressed with full attention and priority.

"At the County Office of Education, we continue to support our schools and districts, who have shown numerous times throughout this pandemic that they will step up and do the right thing in support of students and families."

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Student COVID vaccinations: California becomes first state to require them for kids 12 and up

by / CalMatters

Uploaded: Fri, Oct 1, 2021, 12:13 pm
Updated: Thu, Oct 7, 2021, 5:48 pm

In another aggressive effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure schools remain open, Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced a vaccine mandate for students ages 12 and older, making California the first state in the nation to require students to be fully vaccinated for in-person instruction.

The mandate would add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required immunizations, which includes mumps, measles and rubella. Newsom issued this order in the aftermath of similar mandates from the state's largest districts, Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified.

"We intend to do that once the FDA has fully approved the vaccine which will give us time to work with districts, give us time to work with parents and educators to build more trust and confidence," Newsom said.

Parents still have some time to get their students vaccinated. The state mandate will go into effect only once the federal Food and Drug Administration fully approves vaccines for those 12 and older. Upon FDA approval, students will have until the start of the following academic term, either January 1st or July 1st, to be fully vaccinated.

This mandate, however, doesn't just put the responsibility on students. All public school employees will be required to be vaccinated as soon as the mandate takes effect for students. Until now, teachers and staff were either required to be vaccinated or undergo regular testing for COVID-19; negative tests will no longer suffice.

The state expects that based on current FDA timelines, students grades 7-12 will be required to be vaccinated by July 1, 2022.

Students who are currently too young to get the vaccine will be required to receive their doses as soon as they reach the required age, but they'll be given a "reasonable period of time to receive both doses."

The California Department of Public Health will develop the rules for personal and religious exemptions following a public comment period. Details for that process have not yet been released.

The mandate comes in the aftermath of Newsom's overwhelming victory in September's recall election, during which the governor leaned into mask and vaccine mandates.

A survey released this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that most families nationwide are willing to vaccinate their children.

California students who do not get fully vaccinated will be required to enroll in independent study, the only alternative to in-person instruction being offered this year.

Local officials react

Following news of the state mandate, Weekly editor Jeremy Walsh reached out to the Pleasanton Unified School District to see how Superintendent David Haglund reacted to Newsom's announcement.

"We welcome the state's vaccine mandates, and support any measure based on data and science that further protects the safety and health of our students, staff and community," Haglund said in a written statement Tuesday.

"We are grateful that 97.3% of Pleasanton students ages 12-17 have received one dose of an authorized COVID-19 vaccine and 82.9% are fully vaccinated here in Pleasanton. We hope to see similar numbers as the vaccines receive full approval for administering to students ages 5-11," he added.

The percentages Haglund provided reflect the entire Pleasanton community, not strictly those youth enrolled in PUSD, as the Alameda County Public Health Department only reports the data for an entire city or town, according to district officials.

Alameda County Superintendent of Schools L. K. Monroe also issued a written statement in support of Newsom's student vaccination mandate.

"When it comes to the safety of students and staff, vaccines are clearly the path forward. The safety measures we already have in place in schools across the county, including wearing masks, testing, and ventilation have all proven to be critical layers of protection, and are part of comprehensive safety efforts that include vaccines for students and staff. We appreciate that the state is prepared to invest in making that a priority," Monroe stated, adding:

"The future effective date of Governor Newsom's plan to mandate vaccines is also helpful for our local educational agencies to have time to plan and provides a long onramp to implementation. Currently, our school and districts are grappling with staffing shortages, implementation of COVID protocols, and declining enrollment, critical issues that need to be addressed with full attention and priority.

"At the County Office of Education, we continue to support our schools and districts, who have shown numerous times throughout this pandemic that they will step up and do the right thing in support of students and families."

CALmatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California's policies and politics.

Comments

buklau
Registered user
Avila
on Oct 1, 2021 at 1:10 pm
buklau, Avila
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2021 at 1:10 pm

Teenage males are statistically more at risk from the RNA vaccine than covid itself:

Web Link

Web Link


Bill Brasky
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Oct 1, 2021 at 2:11 pm
Bill Brasky, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2021 at 2:11 pm

I am vaccinated and not an anti-vaxer, but you have to look at the data. Kids and Pro athletes are not causing rural and city hospitals to buckle.

Unelected officials' arbitrary mandates and lockdowns of specific sectors have caused distrust and frustration in an already stressful situation.

Forcing Andrew Wiggins or my six-year-old to get the Vaccine will only fuel the frustration of many data-driven Americans.


BobB
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Oct 1, 2021 at 2:13 pm
BobB, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2021 at 2:13 pm

@buklau,

That deeply flawed "study" has been widely debunked.

Web Link

Web Link

Teenage males are more at risk from the virus than they are from vaccines.


BobB
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2021 at 2:19 pm
BobB, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2021 at 2:19 pm

Bill Brasky,

They really are looking at the data at the FDA and CDC panels. Also the American Academy of Pediatrics and many other groups are carefully studying the data.

Web Link

People cherry pick preprint studies to validate preconceived notions or advanced anti-vax agendas. I would look at the recommendations of the major medical groups and look at the data they're using also. They are being thorough and prudent in my opinion.


Bill Brasky
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Oct 1, 2021 at 2:29 pm
Bill Brasky, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2021 at 2:29 pm

BobB,

The Vaccines haven’t been the sledgehammer to knock out the virus completely; too many variants and breakthrough cases. The data shows it lowers the viral load and increases your chance of not going to ICU.

Why should individuals in the lowest risk group be mandated to lower their viral load if they are not the group impacting hospitalizations?


buklau
Registered user
Avila
on Oct 1, 2021 at 5:43 pm
buklau, Avila
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2021 at 5:43 pm

1) CDC says: "the risk of complications for healthy children is higher for flu compared to covid-19" (page 6)
Web Link

2) These jabs aren't getting rid of covid. Israel, Iceland, and UK are top %s in vax rates per capita and have seen surges of covid cases.

3) Children are the lowest risk group for covid, with over a 99.9999% survival rate for teenagers.

First they are mandating it for 12 year olds and next the are mandating it for 5-11 year olds.

Why are we jabbing our children who are the lowest risk group for a virus less deadly for them than the common flu?


Jake Waters
Registered user
Birdland
on Oct 1, 2021 at 5:48 pm
Jake Waters, Birdland
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2021 at 5:48 pm

Please don’t respond BobB because you utilize disinformation to obstruct anyone who reads or listens to anyone that isn’t on your Cable list.


That said, I encourage every parent to do their due diligence and research sources that are outside the recommended offerings from this government. These are not the vaccines that you have given your children in the past. They behave differently. Remember, vaccines of the past have an enormous long life to them, as in decades. This experimental gene therapy is shown to last only 6 months and thus the need for the boosters. Boosters are beginning to be projected as every 6 months to 18 months. This will never go away based on this approach.

Be informed.


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Oct 1, 2021 at 6:15 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2021 at 6:15 pm

Funny how teachers and union members who held education hostage last yr are now rallying against this……but they want “you” to get it.

Can’t make this stuff up folks


BobB
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Oct 1, 2021 at 7:46 pm
BobB, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2021 at 7:46 pm

@Jake Waters,

You said "This experimental gene therapy..." That is a complete lie. It is a falsehood. It is not gene therapy in any way, shape or form.

"... sources that are outside the recommended offerings ..."

Stay away from quacks and crackpots.

Again, I ask you. What are you doing here? Are trying to talk people out of getting a vaccine that could save their lives or keep them out of the hospital? In the middle of a pandemic? Is that your goal?


BobB
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2021 at 7:49 pm
BobB, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2021 at 7:49 pm

@buklau,

The seasonal flu, also know as influenza, is dangerous for children (as is COVID-19). Annual flu shots are recommended for everyone from 6 month old infants up to seniors. It needs a boost every year. We do give children annual flu shots.


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