Breaking News: Vaccinations required for California students and staff

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Students of all ages will soon be vaccinated in California schools.

Vaccines will now be mandated in all California K-12 schools, for both students and staff. Gov. Gavin Newsom made this announcement public on Friday, Oct. 1. 

“California has the lowest case rate in the United States of America and we’ve maintained that status now for some time,” Newsom said. “California was the first state in the United States to require statewide school mass wearing requirements”

These efforts have been apparent in schools throughout California thus far, but the decision is no longer in the district’s hands.

“As we started this school year, I challenged the staff, families, and students. I said that one of the things we have to do, if we are going to remain healthy and be safe, is we have to take care of each other. The way that we do that is to make sure we are getting vaccinated and we are wearing masks,” said Vincent Matthews, superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

To follow up with that, Newsom plans to require vaccination for K-12 students as soon as it is FDA approved, possibly as soon as Jan. 2022.

The plan is to roll out the vaccine in phases based on eligible age groups. The first phase will pertain to grades 7 through 12.

“You’ve seen that a number of districts in the state of California have moved forward more quickly with their own mandates and their own timelines,” Newsom said. “We expect, on the basis of other similar requirements, that you’ll start to see an uptick in people getting vaccinated well before those dates are established.” 

Newsom cleared up the pondering question of whether or not there would be exemptions.

“Well established exemptions for medical reasons, personal, and/or religious beliefs are established in these guidelines,” Newsom said.

This new decision is reducing stress for Carlmont students.

“Going to school with about 2,500 people while COVID is still going around is scary enough, but knowing that there are still people that aren’t vaccinated not only scares me, but confuses me. I think this is a good step in the right direction since California is already doing so much better than before,” said Nicole Kopelev, a Carlmont junior.

This attempt made by California’s government is an optimistic one, hoping to combat the future of this pandemic. 

“We’re building on that, we’re leaning forward, and we’re anticipating a future with the winter surge,” Newsom said.