The California Department of Public Health announced Wednesday a new public health order requiring all school staff to either show proof of full vaccination or be tested once a week.
The new policy for school staff is set to take effect Aug. 12, and schools must be in full compliance by Oct. 15, officials said in a statement about the order.
“To give parents confidence that their children are safe as schools return to full, in-person learning, we are urging all school staff to get vaccinated. Vaccinations are how we will end this pandemic,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom in the statement. “As a father, I look forward to the start of the school year and seeing all California kids back in the classroom.”
Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, CDPH director and state public health officer, said the mandatory vaccination or testing order will allow the state to keep students safe and classrooms fully reopened.
“Today’s order will help the state’s continued efforts to increase vaccinations, similar to the orders encouraging state and health care workers and businesses to get vaccinated,” said Aragón.
The order announced on Wednesday follows in the same vein as previous public health orders issued by the state in recent months, with state and health care workers also being required to show proof of vaccination or be tested at least once per week. California was also the first state to implement universal masking in K-12 settings.
California Teachers Association President E. Toby Boyd called the announcement an “appropriate step” in ensuring the safety of those under the age of 12 and who are not vaccine eligible yet.
The public health announcement said free testing resources are available to K-12 schools through the California K-12 schools testing program. For more information about the testing program, visit: https://testing.covid19.ca.gov/school-testing/.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.