Does the Board of Trustees have any local decision-making authority in this matter?
No. Our Board of Trustees will continue to do their research, listen to their constituents and will be prepared to address the details of the mandate in a future board meeting.
What agencies will be involved in mandating the vaccine?
American Academy of Pediatrics
When will the requirement take effect?
After FDA approval, the requirement will take effect at the start of the term following full approval of that grade span, to be defined as January 1st or July 1st, whichever comes first. Based on current information, the FDA is expected to take action in the Spring of 2022. Assuming the approval is granted, the requirement is expected to apply to grades 7-12 starting on July 1, 2022.
What are the age groups being considered for the vaccine?
Following the exiting laws:
- full approval of ages 12+ corresponds to grades 7-12,
- and full approval of ages 5-11 corresponds to grades K-6.
- students who are under the age of full approval, but within the grade span, will be required to be vaccinated once they reach the age of full approval (with a reasonable period of time to receive both doses), consistent with existing procedures for other vaccines.
Are there plans to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of approved vaccinations?
Yes. Gov. Newsom announced plans to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the current list of vaccinations required to attend school in person when the vaccine receives full approval from the FDA for middle and high school grades, just like measles, mumps, rubella and more.
What is the current school vaccination/immunization requirement in California?
Immunizations required to enter kindergarten are:
- Diptheria, tetanus and Pertussis (DTaP)
- Measles, mumps and Rubella
- Hepatitis B
- Varicella (Chickenpox)
Immunizations required to enter 7th grade are as follows:
- Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis booster (Tdap)
- Varicella (Chickenpox)It’s important to know that all vaccines required include at least two doses (or “boosters”). Why is the Governor mandating the vaccine?
The Governor made the following statement regarding his decision to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine. “The state already requires that students are vaccinated against viruses that cause measles, mumps, and rubella – there’s no reason why we wouldn’t do the same for COVID-19. Today’s measure, just like our first-in-the-nation school masking and staff vaccination requirements, is about protecting our children and school staff, and keeping them in the classroom,” said Governor Newsom. “Vaccines work. It’s why California leads the country in preventing school closures and has the lowest case rates. We encourage other states to follow our lead to keep our kids safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
What is the difference between a mandate and legislative action?
There will be more information forthcoming from the Governor’s office and California Department of Public Health regarding the vaccine mandate. Based on the research we have done, a mandate, which is what the Governor has proposed, generally includes a personal, religious or medical exemption. His mandate is not legislation. That being said, if the legislature takes action and makes the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory, they may or may not include a personal, religious or medical exemption.
What is our current Board Policy (BP) regarding personal, religious or medical exemptions?
Board Policy (BP) and Administrative Regulation 5141.31 is specific to immunizations and includes multiple topics such as; required immunizations, exemptions, exclusions due to lack of immunizations, exclusion due to exposure to disease, conditional enrollment and audits. It has not yet been determined that the COVID-19 vaccine will be added to the list of required immunizations.
Will there be exemptions of the Governor’s emergency mandate?
According to the statement made by Governor Newsom, medical, religious and personal belief exemptions would be available. The details of these options have not yet been released. Once details are announced, they will be communicated to our families .
Are there exemptions of the current weekly testing of employees?
At this time there is not an option for employees, volunteers or others providing services at school sites to opt out of the public health mandate that requires proof of vaccination or weekly testing.
We expect more information in the coming months regarding the Governor’s mandate. Until then, the Board of Trustees will continue to do their research, listen to their constituents and will be prepared to address the details of the mandate in a future board meeting.