LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that all teachers and school staff in California will have to be either vaccinated against the coronavirus or undergo weekly testing.
It marks the first such requirement from any state in the nation. A handful of school districts, including Long Beach Unified, had already instituted such a requirement.
“We’re now following up today to align our school strategy to the state strategy and become the first state in the country to require that all of our staff, not just teachers — credentialed staff, parent educators, custodial staff, bus drivers — folks that are critical to supporting the entire school ecosystem, also submit a verification of vaccination and/or submit to weekly testing,” Newsom said.
The move is supported by California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers, the two largest teachers unions in the state, according to Politico.
The CTA says 90% of its members have already been vaccinated.
Newsom made the announcement during a news conference at a school in Alameda County Wednesday morning. The mandate does not apply to students.
The Los Angeles Unified School District is going a step further by requiring all students and district employees to undergo weekly COVID testing, regardless of vaccination status, if they are taking part in in-person classes.
“It’s important because if you don’t get vaccinated, then everybody will get more COVID, and we’ll have to start all over again,” said Camila Cerrano, a 5th grader at the LAUSD.
“For me, they all should be vaccinated no matter what,” said Fabian Bloise, a parent of an LAUSD student. “It’s just for the benefit of the community.”
This also comes after the state of California recently issued a mandate that all state workers to be vaccinated or regularly tested. The state is also mandating vaccinations for all health care workers by Sept. 30. The order leaves room for workers to opt out due to medical or religious reasons.
California has faced a surge in COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks due to the highly contagious Delta variant. The state reported 9,625 cases Tuesday and 10 new deaths from the disease.
The seven-day average testing positivity rate is 6.2 percent, up from 0.8% on June 1.
At least 6,687 were hospitalized with the coronavirus statewide Tuesday, almost a five-fold increase from early June when there were about 1,330 patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
77.5% of all eligible Californians have received at least one dose of a vaccine, Newsom said Wednesday.