California becomes first state to mandate that teachers show proof of vaccination
California just became the first state in the country to require that teachers and school staff be vaccinated against COVID-19, or face weekly testing. This news comes as various public and private entities across many states and regions are beginning to require COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced late last month that the state would require health care workers and state government employees to be vaccinated. It was only a matter of time before teachers became the next public servants to face a mandate, and honestly? This is great news. Teachers should want to keep their students safe and isn’t the place for “but the vaccine is a personal choice.” Fine, make a personal choice to have a different job if you don’t want to get vaccinated.
The governor made the announcement Wednesday, August 11, 2021, saying, “We think this is the right thing to do and we think this is a sustainable way to keep schools open. And to address the number one anxiety that parents like myself have — I have four young children — and that is knowing that the schools are doing everything in their power to keep their kids healthy.”
All teachers and staff members at public and private schools serving kindergarten through grade 12 will have to be vaccinated, or face weekly testing.
Unvaccinated workers must submit to weekly testing, but it’s not clear if they are paying for it themselves or if the school will be conducting the testing at no cost to the employee. That’s hardly a sacrifice and unlikely to persuade anti-vaxxers to get the jab.
The good news is that per The New York Times, Becky Zoglman, a spokeswoman for the California Teachers Association, said that 90 percent of the union’s 310,000 members have already been vaccinated, so the goal is just to vaccinate that final 10%.
“It’s not a new thing to have immunizations in schools,” Randi Weingarten, the head of the powerful American Federation of Teachers, said on “Meet the Press” this weekend. “And I think that on a personal matter, as a matter of personal conscience, I think that we need to be working with our employers, not opposing them, on vaccine mandates.”
California was very strict when it came to reopening schools during the pandemic.
Most California children barely returned to classrooms earlier this year, so although the “but my freedoms” crowd will probably hate this latest vaccine mandate, it’s the only way that the governor believes students can truly feel safe at school.
“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. Vaccinations are how we will end this pandemic,” said Governor Newsom in a statement. “As a father, I look forward to the start of the school year and seeing all California kids back in the classroom.”
The statewide policy will take effect on August 12, 2021, and schools must be in full compliance by October 15, 2021.