California Urges COVID-19 Vaccination For Lecturers: NPR
California Governor Gavin Newsom appears at a news conference in Oakland, California on July 26th. On Wednesday, he announced that the state’s teachers and school staff will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested weekly. Jeff Chiu / AP Hide caption
Jeff Chiu / AP
Jeff Chiu / AP
SAN FRANCISCO – California will be the first state in the nation to require all teachers and school staff to get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 tests, Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday.
The statewide vaccination mandate for K-12 educators comes when schools return from summer recess amid growing concerns about the highly contagious Delta variant.
Newsom announced the new policy at a school in the San Francisco Bay Area that reopened after the summer break. Many California schools are back in class, with others starting in the coming weeks.
“We think this is the right thing to do, and we think this is a sustainable way of keeping our schools open and addressing the greatest fear parents like me have for young children,” Newsom said.
Several major school districts in the state have enacted similar requirements in recent days, including San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and Long Beach Unified.
California, like the rest of the country, has seen a worrying spike in COVID-19 infections due to the Delta variant, which represents the vast majority of new cases. It has affected children more than previous strains of the virus.
In the past few weeks, Newsom has mandated that all health care workers be fully vaccinated for employment, without the option of regular testing, and that all government workers get vaccinated or choose weekly tests.
For schools, Newsom issued an indoor class mask mandate that applies to teachers and students, but had left the decision of whether vaccines were required to the local counties by Wednesday.
The president of the country’s second largest teachers’ union, Randi Weingarten, said on Sunday that “circumstances have changed”.
“It bothers me very much that children under the age of 12 cannot be vaccinated,” said Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.