California Becomes First State to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccines or Regular Testing for Teachers

California will require teachers and other school staff to either get vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo regular testing, Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Aug. 11.

“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,” Newsom said, making California the first state to enact the mandate for teachers and school employees.

The move follows a similar mandate for healthcare workers and state employees to either show proof of full vaccination or submit to weekly testing.

The order issued by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will take effect on Aug. 12 and all schools must fully comply by Oct. 15.

Testing resources would be free and available to K-12 schools, according to a statement from Newsom’s office.

California has already implemented a universal masking requirement in schools, also becoming the first state to do so.

California Teachers Association President E. Toby Boyd said that the Aug. 11 mandate was “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 from this highly contagious Delta variant.”

According to the association, nearly 90% of teachers in the state have already been vaccinated.

Data from the California government showed that 63.8% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

However, California has also recorded an increasing number of cases due to the Delta variant.

California recorded 9,925 new cases on Aug. 11, bringing the state-wide total to over 3.9 million.


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