California becomes first state to order ALL teachers to get vaccinated against COVID or undergo weekly testing amid push to finally reopen classrooms

 Governor Gavin Newsom has announced that California will become the first U.S. state to require that its teachers and other school staff be vaccinated or regularly tested for COVID-19. 

Newsom called the move 'a responsible step' to ensure the safety of children. 

The governor announced the new policy at a San Francisco Bay Area school that reopened earlier this week to in-person classes. Many California schools are back in session, with others starting in the coming weeks.

'We think this is the right thing to do and we think this is a sustainable way to keeping our schools open and to address the number one anxiety that parents like myself have for young children,' said Newsom, who is a father of four.

San Francisco became one of the United States biggest flashpoints over reopening plans, after many teachers refused to reopen classrooms for the entire 2020-2021 academic year. 

That infuriated parents, with teachers claiming it still wasn't safe to return to in person-learning despite vaccines becoming widely available at the start of the year. 

Several large school districts in the state have issued similar requirements in recent days, including San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and the Long Beach Unified.

The new requirement affects California's 320,000 public school teachers and tens of thousands of others - from cafeteria employees to cleaners and even school volunteers.

California, like the rest of the country, has seen a troubling surge in COVID-19 infections because of the Delta variant, which represents the vast majority of new cases. It has affected children more than previous strains of the virus.

California, which has a total population of 39.51 million people, has recorded 4,077,916 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 64,880 deaths.  

New U.S. cases have increased more than five-fold over the past month with the seven-day average hitting 118,000 on Tuesday. 

Governor Gavin Newsom has announced that California will become the first U.S. state to require that its teachers and other school staff be vaccinated or regularly tested for COVID-19

Governor Gavin Newsom has announced that California will become the first U.S. state to require that its teachers and other school staff be vaccinated or regularly tested for COVID-19 

The governor announced the new policy at a San Francisco Bay Area school that reopened earlier this week to in-person classes. Above, Newsom observed a full classroom after his announcement

The governor announced the new policy at a San Francisco Bay Area school that reopened earlier this week to in-person classes. Above, Newsom observed a full classroom after his announcement

The new requirement affects California's 320,000 public school teachers and tens of thousands of others - from cafeteria employees to cleaners and even school volunteers

The new requirement affects California's 320,000 public school teachers and tens of thousands of others - from cafeteria employees to cleaners and even school volunteers

California mandates COVID vaccine or testing for all teachers
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The state has had one of the nation's lowest rates of in-person schooling during the pandemic, with some schools in San Francisco opting last spring to open for just one day of instruction in a bid to qualify for $12m in state funding that was offered to districts that reopened by May 15.

As schools prepared to reopen, however, new anxieties have surfaced after the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health disclosed last week that a surge in Covid-19 cases in July were tied to youth settings like summer camps and sports. Most were due to relaxed safety protocols like inconsistent mask wearing, lack of physical distancing and failing to isolate sick individuals and their close contacts, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Districts across the state, however, recently reached out to parents to ensure that their schools will still be starting on schedule. This includes seven of California's largest districts, such as Los Angeles Unified, San Diego Unified and Fresno Unified. 

Politico reported that they issued a joint statement Tuesday, which read, 'Schools will offer full-day instruction, five days a week, along with meals and supports for students to accelerate learning, sports, arts and social activities . . . After a year and a half being mostly housebound because of the pandemic, this is what our students deserve.'   

Newsom had already issued a mask mandate that applies to teachers and students, but until Wednesday had left the decision of whether to require vaccines up to local districts.

In California, vaccine mandates are perilous for the Democratic governor, who faces a recall election next month fueled in part by anger over his handling of the pandemic. Newsom's mask mandate for schools has angered some parents and been criticized by Republican candidates vying to replace him.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Board of Education voted last week to sue Newsom over his ‘state of emergency’ rule-making.

The board unsuccessfully sued Gov. Gavin Newsom to reopen schools for in-person instruction last year, but has pushed again to challenge him after he enacted a state mandate requiring K-12 students to wear masks in classrooms and other indoor campus facilities.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the board called the governor’s and executive agencies’ use of emergency decrees a violation of “constitutional and statutory law,” referring to the latest student mask rule as a burden that “compounds the harm to California’s children previously caused by prior school closures and unwarranted masking requirements.”


But Newsom has persisted with his rule-making despite pressure from groups like the Orange County Board of Education. He said during his announcement Wednesday, 'Not everybody will be overwhelmed by this but we think it will be well received because it is the right thing to do to keep our most precious resource healthy and safe, our children here in this state.'

As the virus has surged, particularly among children who are too young to be vaccinated, a growing number of teachers unions have eased their opposition to vaccine mandates.

California´s two largest teachers unions - the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers - said they fully supported Newsom´s policy.

Both unions cited state and national polling that indicates nearly 90% of educators have been vaccinated but said the rising spread of the delta variant, particularly among children, makes the new policy necessary.

'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-tiered safety measures,' CTA President E. Toby Boyd said in a statement.

Details of how the new policy will be enforced were not announced, and labor unions say those logistics still need to be worked out.

Matthew Hardy, a spokesman for the California Federation of Teachers, said the union supports the plan that allows an option for testing.

'We do not think people should lose their jobs over this,' he said.

Schools are required to be in full compliance with the new policy by Oct. 15, giving schools time to verify vaccination status and have in place weekly testing for unvaccinated staff, said Amelia Matier, a spokeswoman in the governor´s office.

Newsom did not rule out expanding the requirement to students after a vaccine is approved for children under 12 years old.

'We´ll consider all options in the future,' he said, in response to a question. 'We believe this is a meaningful first step.'

Newsom did not rule out expanding the requirement to students after a vaccine is approved for children under 12 years old

Newsom did not rule out expanding the requirement to students after a vaccine is approved for children under 12 years old 


Masks have become a divisive issue, often splitting the country along political lines, despite near universal agreement among health experts that they can limit the spread of the virus, Reuters reported. 

In contrast, more conservatives states have rejected mask mandates.  

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a statewide ban on mask mandates, which was  temporarily blocked by a judge in Dallas County from being enforced amid a nationwide rise in coronavirus cases.

Republican Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida stirred controversy last week when he threatened to financial penalize schools that require masks to be worn. DeSantis issued a statement announcing his order, which read, 'With respect to enforcing any financial consequences for noncompliance of state law regarding these rules and ultimately the rights of parents to make decisions about their children's education and health care decisions, it would be the goal of the State Board of Education to narrowly tailor any financial consequences to the offense committed.'

'For example, the State Board of Education could move to withhold the salary of the district superintendent or school board members, as a narrowly tailored means to address the decision-makers who led to the violation of law.'

'Education funding is intended to benefit students first and foremost, not systems. The Governor's priorities are protecting parents' rights and ensuring that every student has access to a high-quality education that meets their unique needs.'

At least one superintendent offered an immediate and defiant response to DeSantis's salary threat. Leon County School Superintendent Rocky Hanna told school officials on Monday that 'you can't put a price tag on someone's life including my salary.'

He added: 'We want to make sure that children also have access to a high quality education but they can't if they're sick and in the hospital.'

His response came hours before he announced that children in the state's capital, Tallahassee, will be required to wear masks as the upcoming school year begins. 

Broward County Public Schools – the second-largest in the state – also spoke out against the governor. 'At this time, the District's face covering policy, which requires the use of masks in District schools and facilities, remains in place,' the district said in a statement sent to the Washington Post. The announcement came after the school district reversed its mask requirement Monday, saying it wanted to comply with the governor's order.

Ronald DeSantis faces backlash in Florida after threatening to cut school officials' salaries if they put mask wearing mandates in place

Ronald DeSantis faces backlash in Florida after threatening to cut school officials' salaries if they put mask wearing mandates in place

The influx of defiance against DeSantis prompted the Biden administration to say it was considering supporting the school districts financially if DeSantis retaliates against them by withholding funds from officials' salaries.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that the administration is 'continuing to look for ways' for 'the U.S. government to support districts and schools as they try to follow the science.' According to the Washington Post, the administration would pay the school officials' salaries using coronavirus relief money designated for Florida schools that has remained unspent.

Meanwhile, in Tennessee, over a hundred anti-mask protesters heckled masked people, including doctors and nurses, on Tuesday in Williamson County where the school board voted earlier to require masks for elementary students.

A video with nearly 1 million views on Twitter shows the crowd surrounding a masked man as he walked to his car. Protesters yelled: 'We will find you' and 'We know who you are. No more masks.'

The vaccination requirement in California schools follows similar orders that applied to state employees and healthcare workers. Over the past few weeks, Newsom has mandated that all health care workers must be fully vaccinated and required that all state employees get vaccinated or choose weekly testing.

Teachers and all school employees, including custodians, aides and bus drivers, will be required to show proof of their vaccination status to their school district and employees who are not vaccinated must submit to weekly testing, USA Today reported. 

'We think this is a sustainable way to keeping our schools open, and to address the No. 1 anxiety that parents like myself have for young children,' Newsom said at a briefing where he was flanked by state teachers' union officials who support the move. 

Newsom is currently facing a recall election on September 14 after he faced fierce criticism from Republicans relating to the state's response to COVID-19, crime rates and homelessness. 

Two unions representing more than 550,000 California teachers and school employees expressed support for the requirement, CNN reported. 

School districts in San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, and Long Beach have already implemented a similar measure and Los Angeles Unified, the state's largest school district, has required weekly COVID testing, but stopped short of mandating educators be vaccinated, According to CNN.  

California contains more than 1,000 school districts that employ more than 300,000 teachers who teach about 6.1 million students.

The White House said last week that almost 90% of U.S. educators and school staff are vaccinated.


The U.S. government and several states, along with some hospitals, universities and a growing number of private employers, have said they require employees to get inoculated.

New York City last week become the first major U.S. city to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination at restaurants, gyms and other businesses, starting next month.

In Texas, the temporary order in Dallas issued late on Tuesday by Judge Tonya Parker allows officials in the state's second-most populous county to require masks indoors, despite Abbott's July order against such mandates. A hearing on Aug. 24 will determine whether to extend the temporary order.

The top elected official in Dallas County, Judge Clay Jenkins, who sought the court order issued late Tuesday, said preventative steps such as mask-wearing are needed to combat a spike in new cases of COVID-19.

'Models predict ongoing dramatic increases in cases and hospitalizations over the coming weeks that will exceed the peak earlier this year unless behavior change takes place,' he said Tuesday on Twitter. 

The latest coronavirus wave is still the worst in Southern states, based on new cases and hospitalizations per capita in recent weeks.

Arkansas, Florida and Louisiana are all reporting record COVID-19 hospitalizations in recent days.

California becomes first state to order ALL teachers to get vaccinated against COVID or undergo weekly testing amid push to finally reopen classrooms California becomes first state to order ALL teachers to get vaccinated against COVID or undergo weekly testing amid push to finally reopen classrooms Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 09:20 Rating: 5

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