What they say: Education and labor leaders back new measure to encourage teachers and school staff to get vaccinated
SACRAMENTO – Education and labor leaders across the state welcomed Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement today that all school staff are required to show full proof of vaccination or to be tested at least once a week as California begins the school year in person. California is the first state in the country to require all school staff, including public and private schools, to check immunization status or get tested.
The measure follows California’s requirement, the country’s first, that workers in healthcare facilities be fully immunized, as well as more stringent requirements for visitors to healthcare facilities and a standard that all workers at healthcare facilities Condition must show proof of full vaccination or be tested at least once a week. The state encourages local governments and other employers to adopt a similar protocol.
California State PTA President Carol Green: “California State PTA is in favor of immunizing all educators and school personnel to protect children in school who cannot be. If vaccination is not possible, weekly tests would be required. We want to do everything we can to protect our most vulnerable children and ensure that all children can return to school safely. We maintain our position that educators are essential workers and support the safe opening of schools to in-person teaching. We believe the Governor’s action is a positive science-based step forward to protect our school communities.
E. Toby Boyd, President of the California Teachers Association (CTA): “We know from our surveys that nearly 90% of educators have already been vaccinated. Yet in recent weeks we have seen an increasing spread of the Delta variant, especially among children, as the new school year begins. Educators want to be in classrooms with their students, and the best way to make sure that happens is for everyone who is medically eligible to be vaccinated, with robust testing and multi-layered safety measures. Today’s announcement is an appropriate next step in keeping our school communities safe and protecting our youngest learners under the age of 12 who are not yet eligible for the vaccine against this highly contagious Delta variant. From the start, we’ve let community conditions, science, and public health advice guide us and have advocated strongly for multiple layers of safety protections – vaccinations, masking, physical distancing, improved ventilation, and robust testing – to keep our school communities safe. Educators and parents must continue to take an active role in developing safety plans for their schools and colleges. Today’s announcement offers an important alternative for educators who cannot be medically vaccinated, while continuing to send a strong and clear message that all of us – educators, eligible students, parents and staff – must do everything possible if we hope to win this fight against COVID and keep our schools safe and open. The health of each of us depends on the work of each of us.
California Federation of Teachers (CFT) President Jeff Freitas: “We are optimistic about returning in-person education to state classrooms and keeping our schools open, which depends on the health and safety of our school communities. The most important step in achieving this is that all eligible people be vaccinated, followed by frequent testing for those who are not vaccinated. Combining this policy with mitigating measures such as masking, hand washing and good ventilation will ensure that we are doing everything possible to keep schools safe for in-person learning. We applaud the Governor’s efforts to provide a framework that works towards this goal.
California Medical Association (CMA) Board Chair Shannon Udovic-Constant, MD: “As parents, we are all concerned about the return of students to school at a time when COVID cases are still high. We have a responsibility to do all we can to protect the health and well-being of our children, especially those who are too young to receive COVID vaccines. All eligible people must be vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccines are safe and very effective in stopping the risks associated with this disease. By ensuring that all teachers and school staff are vaccinated or tested regularly, we can send our children back to school knowing that they will benefit from the in-person learning and social interaction that is so. critical to their health and development, while doing our part to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to children and their families. “
American Academy of Pediatrics, California: “California pediatricians have witnessed the impact of the COVID19 pandemic on academics, social and emotional skills, reliable nutrition, physical activity and mental health. Schools and their programs are essential for the development and well-being of children and adolescents. The American Academy of Pediatrics, Calif., Strongly advocates that all political considerations for school plans should begin with the goal of keeping students safe and physically present at school. Immunization is a critical part of multi-level safety practices designed to ensure safe face-to-face learning for California children. (California) Pediatricians wholeheartedly support the state’s efforts to ensure that teachers and staff protect our children and each other from COVID by getting vaccinated or tested regularly. At the start of the next school year, every effort should be made to keep students in schools in person, especially those who are vulnerable or are not eligible for vaccination. All children should be guaranteed equitable and safe access to education.
Public lawyers: “This ordinance will help schools keep children safe when they reopen this fall and will give parents, students and staff the assurance that all adults will be fully immunized or COVID-free. After such a trying year, we need to ensure that students have a safe and restorative return to school in person, where they can focus on rebuilding strong relationships and immersing themselves in rigorous learning. We support the governor’s efforts to get our children back to school safely.
Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) President Charlie Hoffman: “The Executive Committee of the CASA Board of Directors voted unanimously to support the governor’s action because our schools need to be safe. The Delta variant appears to be a game-changer for us, and this action should keep students and ultimately school employees safe. While we hope all employees ultimately decide to be vaccinated, we look forward to working with the Governor’s administration on the personnel and operations support needed to perform employee COVID testing at our schools. “
President of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA) and Superintendent of Schools for Alameda County LK Monroe: “The vaccine requirement for all educational staff, announced today by Governor Newsom, is another critical step, which aligns with science and public health recommendations to create the safest environment possible then. that we welcome students to school. We know that in-person instruction is imperative for the well-being of our students. Districts, schools and education officials have spent months planning and working to open our campuses safely and our priority now is to keep them open, and these additional preventive measures will help us achieve that. It is an exciting time of year as the students return to class. But with the Delta variant causing an alarming increase in the rate of cases, families are rightly concerned about the well-being of their children, as we anticipate the possibility of our youngest learners being eligible for the vaccine. School staff, of course, also have concerns. We will continue to build on state guidelines and recommendations and support the implementation of strategies that make our school environments safer. Our students and staff deserve nothing less.
SEIU California Board Member and Executive Director of SEIU Local 99, Max Arias: “Students are back in California classrooms today because frontline education workers have led the campaign to create safe learning environments. We share Governor Newsom’s pledge to increase the immunization rate so that we can better protect the students and families we serve from disease and death, and prevent the virus from spreading to our own families and communities, and we support public health measures like this that are designed to do this while leaving the choice to the workers. Worker-led school safety protocols created the model for safe schools to reopen, and many school workers have already created similar agreements. The workers and employers at the bargaining table are the most effective way to create and implement immunization policies for the benefit of the entire school community. “
Shane Dishman, President of the California School Employees Association (CSEA): “CSEA is committed to ensuring the safety of students and staff in California schools. A broad vaccination is the surest way to get us out of this pandemic and to ensure that schools remain open for in-person instruction, and our youngest students and those who are not eligible for the vaccine depend on those in. us who can get it. We all need to do our part to get vaccinated or take the necessary steps to ensure that we do not pose a risk to the health of others. “
California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) President and CEO Myrna Castrejón: “If you are an educator – in kindergarten, primary, middle and high school, or in higher education – we urge you to get vaccinated for your own safety and that of the students in your care. The recent increase in pediatric cases of Delta COVID-19 reminds us that we cannot let our guard down and must continue to follow evidence-based guidelines from public health agencies. Not only do vaccinations protect adults and teens from the most serious health complications of COVID-19, they’re safe. Keeping our families, communities and schools safe is a job for all of us, and we must each do our part. The CCSA supports the California Department of Public Health orders to mitigate transmission and ensure a safe return to in-person learning. We urge all educators and school staff to get immunized to ensure your safety and the safety of the students. “