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Thursday, March 23, 2023

As state tightens vaccine rules, some parents, school employees urge walkouts today

Amid debate over stricter vaccination requirements across the state, parent and teacher groups across the region pushed for scattered student and staff strikes on Monday, Oct. 18.

Rumors of possible imprisonment and other protests spread on social media over the weekend, with activists urging parents to pick up their children from school and teachers and other school employees to join them without going to work.

Demonstrations took place across the state, with the largest being “Our Children, Our Choice!” According to media reports, the rally is expected in Sacramento on Monday at 10:00 am. Cal Matters said about 2,500 people intend to protest in front of the Sacramento State Capitol Building, citing a permit approved by the California Highway Patrol.

It was unclear how the protests would affect individual school districts or how large the movement would be in Los Angeles County.

Newsom previously ruled that all teachers and staff in public and private schools must be vaccinated by October 15 or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

In addition, California became the first state to mandate vaccination or testing of eligible students enrolled on campus when Newsom signed the requirement on October 1. Newsom’s goal is to vaccinate all seventh through twelfth graders by next fall, once the vaccinations have received final federal approval. for everyone from 12 years old. Students who do not comply may be assigned to independent study, although exceptions for medical and religious reasons may be considered.

The state plans to require kindergarten through sixth grade students to receive the vaccine when pending final federal approval is granted for students ages 5 to 11, Newsom said.

Summer Bailey, whose son is in West Torrance High School, said he would not go to school on Monday. He will miss the English, government class and ASB meeting. But she said he would be allowed to attend football practice.

The 17-year-old, like most high school students, spent nearly two academic years outside the classroom. He attended online school in his sophomore year and throughout his junior years.

Bailey is the founder of South Bay Parents Push Back, a Facebook group promoting vaccine and mask selection for students, which has grown to about 500 members.

“It’s really discouraging and sad – and it’s not fair,” Bailey said of the mandates. “All we want is a choice or a choice.”

However, participating in the sit-in is not so much for high school students as her son, Bailey said. Rather, it is a way to protect younger students who suffered mentally and physically from the lack of social interaction in the classroom.

However, Bailey said, in her experience, schools are reluctant to work with parents who are not ready to receive the vaccine. Students feel excluded, she said.

And she added that this is not a political issue for her.

“I know people think they’re far-right, political and all,” Bailey said, adding that there are vaccinated and unvaccinated parents in her group, as well as anti-mask and pro-mask parents.

“We all understand each other’s choices and respect that,” Bailey said. “We understand what can happen if you give up people’s choices.”

As State Tightens Vaccine Rules, Some Parents, School Employees Urge Walkouts Today
Governor Gavin Newsom (Jane Tisca / Bay Area News Group)

Newsom issued a first-of-its-kind order in August when the delta variant of COVID-19 devastated the region during a nationwide summer surge.

Since then, after doubling efforts to promote camouflage and vaccinations, rates across the state and Los Angeles County have declined. But health officials lament the slow number of vaccinations preventing the region from achieving its much-desired herd immunity goal.

Officials fear the county remains vulnerable to another spike – and new options – during the winter flu season.

Newsom defended his move – and the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines – in a statement: “It’s about protecting our children and school staff and keeping them safe in the classroom. Vaccines work and we will end the pandemic with them. ”

The order, issued on Aug. 11 and effective Oct. 15, requires vaccination status verification among eligible K-12 school personnel across the state. It is setting up diagnostic screening tests for unvaccinated workers in an effort to minimize the risk of transmission on K-12 school campuses, where many students 12 and under are not yet eligible for vaccination.

As State Tightens Vaccine Rules, Some Parents, School Employees Urge Walkouts Today

Public health officials have been encouraged by the success of measures such as camouflage, distancing and quarantine, which are already being implemented in more than 3,000 schools in Los Angeles County, serving a total of about 1.7 million students.

Virus trend lines in schools are falling. For the week ended October 3, 1,090 student applications were registered. A week later, this number dropped to 591. And two weeks ago there were 167 personnel cases. There were only 67 of them last week.

“These are startlingly low numbers,” County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last week. “The very low numbers mean that superintendents, staff, parents and students have done a great job of consistently implementing mitigation strategies. And these efforts help keep our school community safe. ”

The threat of outbreaks in local schools remains a concern.

Since 16 August, 21 outbreaks have occurred in youth sports programs. There were 394 cases and 1527 contacts. Most of those infected were not vaccinated, officials said.

As State Tightens Vaccine Rules, Some Parents, School Employees Urge Walkouts Today

In Los Angeles County, the state’s mandate this week coincides with the introduction of requirements for the Los Angeles Unified School District. District staff in the nation’s second-largest school system who received their first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine can continue to work on campus, provided they receive a second vaccination by November 15th.

The nation’s second-largest school district provided employees with their first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine over the weekend. Those who do not provide proof of vaccination by the end of the weekend may be barred from visiting campus on Monday. And if they are not granted exemption or housing to work remotely, they will effectively be put on temporary paid leave.

The government has fully approved the COVID-19 vaccine for children 16 and older, but only issued an emergency permit for everyone between the ages of 12 and 15. After federal regulators fully approve the vaccine for this group, the state will require students in grades 7 through 12 to receive the vaccine. vaccinated in both public and private schools, Newsom’s office said.

However, the demands did not suit many, reflecting the capricious nature of the virus, which not only killed, but also divided people over the politics of the era of the pandemic.

At LAUSD, which has stricter policies than state policies, students 12 and older who participate in full-time extracurricular programs must receive their first dose of vaccine by October 3 and their second dose by October 31. programs, all 12 and older should receive their first dose by November 21, and the second by December 19. All other students must receive their first dose within 30 days of 12 years of age, and their second dose no later than eight weeks after their 12th birthday. … Students will be required to provide proof of vaccination by uploading information to the school district’s Daily Pass app by January 10 to gain access to LAUSD school facilities.

The district was sued over this mandate, with opponents arguing that the demand was illegal because it did not allow for religious or personal exceptions.

Last week, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of the parent of a 12-year-old student who claims that their child, along with other LAUSD students who do not comply with the mandate, will be discriminated against by being denied full-time education. and the opportunity to participate in extracurricular programs.

A similar lawsuit was filed against San Diego Unified by the Let Them Breathe group, which formed against school disguise claims and which subsequently took the Let Them Choose initiative to counter COVID-19 vaccination requirements for students.

In September, the San Diego School Board voted to have students 16 and older vaccinated against the coronavirus in the coming months.

The Culver City Unified School District also issued a requirement to confirm vaccinations by November 19.

Staff writers Lisa Jacobs and Lin Tat contributed to the story with the Associated Press.

World Nation News Desk
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