California now requires that all teachers get vaccinated or face weekly testing

Staff vaccinations will give parents confidence that students are safe in school, Gov. Gavin Newsom says
By: | August 12, 2021

California on Wednesday became the first state to require all teachers and school staff to get vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID testing.

Schools must comply with this latest public health order from Gov. Gavin Newsom by Oct. 15. “To give parents confidence that their children are safe as schools return to full in-person learning, we are urging all school staff to get vaccinated,” said Newsom said. “Vaccinations are how we will end this pandemic.”

Teachers will have to show proof of vaccination. The state, meanwhile, is making “robust and free testing resources” available to K-12 schools, Newsom said.

“Educators want to be in classrooms with their students, and the best way to make sure that happens is for everyone who is medically eligible to be vaccinated, with robust testing and multi-tiered safety measures,” California Teachers Association President E. Toby Boyd said in a statement.

School districts must develop plans for tracking employees’ vaccination status. These records must be made available to local health jurisdictions for purposes of case investigations.

“While we hope that all employees will ultimately decide to be vaccinated, we look forward to working with the Governor’s administration on the necessary staffing and operations support required to conduct employee COVID testing in our schools,” said Charlie Hoffman, president of the Association of California School Administrators.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said on Wednesday that he not only supports such vaccine mandates but that they might need to be expanded once the vaccines are fully authorized by the FDA for Americans of all ages.

“I’m expecting that as the FDA finishes its process, it could be after that that the conversation comes up more in earnest,” Cardona said Wednesday in a web conference with the National Press Foundation. “Vaccination is the best way to get our schools reopened. If it becomes mandated, it will help flatten the curve and also get us back to normal.”

In California, most current hospitalizations and deaths are among unvaccinated adults. As of Aug. 10, less than 41% of Californians 12 to 17 years old were fully vaccinated, according to the California Department of Public Health.

More from DA: Why Cardona is expressing support for student and staff vaccine mandates