News/Op-Ed: New California Mandate Requires All Schoolchildren To Receive The COVID-19 Vaccination
by Ian Cook
After the LAUSD mandated COVID-19 vaccination for schoolchildren, Governor Gavin Newsom and the state of California have now become the first state to require the vaccination for all schoolchildren and staff.
With California continuing to post low COVID-19 transmission numbers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Department of Public Health approved the idea of a vaccine mandate for all schoolchildren and staff. This vaccine mandate includes schoolchildren from Kindergarten to 12th Grade in public, charter and private Institutions.
California has already required vaccination from many viruses in order to attend school such as, Polio, Hepatitis B, Measles, Varicella and more. However, due to a significant decline in COVID-19 cases and an increase in vaccine distributions, California will mandate the vaccine in order to prevent further outbreaks in schools.
This mandate affects millions of students across California and will place the state at the forefront of strict pandemic safety measures.
However, this mandate will not take effect for grades 7th-12th until the semester after the FDA gives full approval for children twelve and older to receive the vaccine. Students from kindergarten to 6th grade would then be required to become fully vaccinated against the virus once the FDA grants full approval for younger children to receive the vaccine.
Although the vaccine will be mandated for all schoolchildren, Governor Newsome has given parents of schoolchildren the opportunity to cite personal beliefs that inhibit them from vaccinating their children against COVID-19. With these personal beliefs, children will still be able to attend school fully in-person without vaccination. With the vaccination requirements being processed through the legislature rather than a private business entity, the personal beliefs of parents and students must be honored to some extent. Nonetheless, state lawmakers also have the option to remove the personal belief exemption for the vaccine if they choose to do so, which may result in future legal battles.
In spite of the exemption, unvaccinated students who do not have a medical or personal belief exemption will have the options of enrolling in fully online schooling programs or being homeschooled.
With California being the only state to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine thus far, this puts pressure on many other states to either do the same or to speak out against it.
A few school districts that have been in compliance with these mandates are the (LAUSD) and the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD). These two large school districts already mandated the vaccine weeks before Governor Newsom signed the statewide bill.
Currently, California ranks number 7 in the United States in terms of vaccines being administered, with an estimate of 49,700,000 vaccines being administered and 67.4% of Californians having received at least one dose.
With the recent news of the mandate, there is heavy speculation on whether or not there will be a decrease in the number of students attending in-person classes, or if there will be more compliance with the mandate, leading to an increase in vaccination rates.