Governor Orders School Employees (And Volunteers) To Get Vaccinated, Or Test Weekly, For Coronavirus
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday ordered not only teachers, but all employees in K-12 schools statewide to get fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or submit to weekly screenings for the virus.
Newsom said the public health directive, which applies to both public and private schools, makes California the first U.S. state to require education workers to be vaccinated. The announcement comes as millions of California students prepare to return to campuses for five-day-a-week, in-person instruction.
“It’s the right thing to do,” the governor said at an Oakland news conference, “to keep our most precious resource healthy and safe: our children.”
Who It Covers
The order applies to paid and unpaid workers of all kinds on school campuses, including parent volunteers.
Starting Thursday, the new rules say these workers must show their school documentation that at least two weeks have passed since they’ve received both doses of the vaccine. Workers who can’t do so must take weekly tests for the virus.
Earlier this week, ahead of the governor’s announcement, Long Beach Unified was among several large California school districts to announce its own vaccination requirement for school staff. Oakland Unified, where Newsom was speaking, was another.
“But there are a thousand-plus other…districts in the state that we want to encourage along,” Newsom said, “and we believe that this will begin a process of significantly increasing vaccination rates across the spectrum and across the state.”
Los Angeles Unified had not planned to require staff to get vaccinated — but they also planned to test all staff and students each week regardless of their vaccination status.
The governor had the support of education unions in making Wednesday’s announcement. California Teachers Association president E. Toby Boyd called the new vaccination order an “appropriate next step to ensure the safety of our school communities and to protect our youngest learners under 12 who are not yet vaccine eligible.”
Boyd also said the union’s surveys indicate the vast majority of teachers are already vaccinated.
The news comes amid a rising number of COVID-19 cases among minors.