Inland Empire parents and teachers had a mixed reaction Friday, October 1 to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first-nation-country call that California students should be vaccinated against the coronavirus once the vaccine gets a final OK from the federal government. goes.
“There’s going to be a debate — come to the board meeting,” Riverside Unified School District board member Tom Hunt said Friday.
But Hunt favors the COVID-19 vaccination.
“Vaccines have proven to be effective to some degree, and we know that the vast majority of people who are hospitalized right now have not been vaccinated,” he said.
As of Friday, the COVID-19 vaccine is only approved for those 16 and older, as well as those 12 to 15 years of age with emergency authorization. Once a coronavirus vaccine is fully approved by federal regulators, California will require it for students in grades 7 to 12. This rule applies to both public and private schools. And once the vaccine is approved for young students — at least some expected on an emergency basis, later this fall — the rule will apply to them as well.
“We expected it to come,” said Lance Bradley, spokesman for the Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District. “We thought the mandate announced was going to follow full approval by the CDC.”
What Newsom’s announcement means for the district and the district’s stand on it is still a matter of internal discussion, he said.
Parents across the region have different reactions.
Corona resident Alison Rivera, whose children attend the Corona-Narco Unified School District, wrote in an email, “I am deeply disappointed and not at all surprised that now, with the recall over, Newsom is back on more mandates.” Will go.” “As someone who has vaccinated myself, I’m still hesitant to require it for kids 12 and under… If it was safe for these kids to return with masks this year, we’d do it.” Why can’t you continue? There has been zero outbreaks at our school following our current (California Department of Public Health) guidelines. “
Pomona Unified School District parent Joshua Svodeck said Friday’s news was inevitable.
His second-grade son attended Lincoln Elementary School and Svodeck said he was not concerned with the mandate, especially if it depends on CDC approval of the vaccine for his son’s age group.
“I think it’s something we’ve all seen coming so it’s no surprise,” Svodeck said. “We’ve already discussed masks and he’s learned to adapt to whatever is going on, this will be no different.”
Claremont resident Pamela Nagler, a retired Chaffee Joint Union High School art teacher and mom of a Pomona High teacher, believes the mandate is “absolutely necessary”—and it doesn’t go far enough.
“I think as a culture we have lost track of how many medical interventions have enabled us to be together as a society,” she said on Friday. “If we want to keep kids in school, we want to go the way of a vaccine mandate.”
The order will go into effect the semester after the federal government gives final approval to the vaccine, so as early as January 1, 2022, for students 12 years of age and older, if the FDA approves the vaccine for that age group. gives final approval. If vaccination is final approved in the spring, the mandate goes into effect at the start of the new school year.
Nagler would like to see school districts push the deadline: “July 1 is a little too far.”
COVID-19 Vaccine Adds to List of Vaccines California students are required to attend classes, including vaccinations to protect against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox .
“We will abide by the state’s mandate to do whatever it tells us to do,” San Bernardino City Unified spokesman Ginger Ontiveros said on Friday, “but as a district, we have followed our families’ decisions about vaccines.” is respected.
Religious and medical exemptions would be possible thanks to a state mandate, but the rules for how they would work have yet to be written. Students who refuse vaccination will have to undertake independent study assignments from home.
The Murrieta Valley Unified School District “remains a strong supporter of parental rights to the fullest extent of the law,” Superintendent Patrick Kelly wrote in an email Friday. “We continue to advocate for parental choice and provide parents with the latitude to decide what is best for their child’s health.”
According to the California Department of Public Health, 14.6% of cases of COVID-19 have been identified in those 17 and younger, although children account for only 0.1% of deaths. In Riverside County, 816 people 17 and younger contracted COVID-19 in the week ending September 29, according to the Riverside County Health Department. In San Bernardino County, there were 1,067 COVID-19 cases among youth between September 12 and September 18, according to the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health.
Newsom’s announcement follows an earlier state mandate in August requiring all teachers and staff in K-12 public and private schools to undergo vaccinations or weekly coronavirus tests. Earlier in the summer, he had also mandated that all students and teachers be wearing masks during indoor classes.
According to Hunt, at least at Riverside Unified, that requirement went well in the end.
“There really wasn’t much of a shock,” he said. “I think they acknowledged that the staff is dealing with children and community responsibility.”
Staff writers Alison Escobar, Jennifer Iyer and Javier Rojas contributed to this report.