California has become the first state in the nation to require all teachers and school employees to be vaccinated or submit to regular Covid-19 testing.
In a Wednesday announcement, Governor Gavin Newsom (D) made official a policy already employed by several school districts, including Long Beach Unified and districts in San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento.
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) announces California will be the first state to require all school staff be vaccinated or tested weekly. pic.twitter.com/c5I5w2RKbR— The Recount (@therecount) August 11, 2021
As Fox5 notes, Los Angeles Unified School District - the largest in the state, and second-largest in the nation - has a slightly stricter policy in place, requiring weekly testing for all students and staff regardless of vaccination status.
Newsom’s order, first reported Tuesday night by Politico and later confirmed by various media outlets, was announced by the governor during a late-morning visit to an elementary school in Alameda County. Newsom said California is the first state in the nation to implement such a sweeping requirement.
The vaccination-or-testing requirement already has the support of the powerful Service Employees International Union, which represents thousands of school workers across the state. -Fox5
Newsom's latest edict won hilarious praise from the Service Employees International Group (SEIU) union, which less than two weeks ago opposed Newsom's order requiring state workers show proof of vaccination or undergo regular testing due to the 'abruptness' of notification.
"We share Governor Newsom’s commitment to increasing the rate of vaccination so we can better protect the students and families we serve from sickness and death, and prevent the virus from spreading to our own families and communities, and we support public health measures such as this which are designed to do so while giving workers a choice," said SEIU California executive board member, Max Arias. "Worker-led school safety protocols have created the model for safe school reopening, and many school workers have already created similar agreements."
So - state workers: absolutely not until we can bargain over it.
Students and teachers: follow Newsom's science.
Also supportive are the state's two major teacher's unions, the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers. According to the CTA, nearly 90% of its members are already vaccinated based on a March survey.
Undoubtedly opposed to Newsom's order is the Orange County Board of Education, which announced last week that it will take legal action to challenge Newsom's statewide mask mandate in schools. In addition, a pair of parent groups have filed lawsuits in San Diego challenging Newsom's order.