By Kathy Chouteau
In the wake of the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) Board of Education approving vaccine mandates for students and staff on Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a similar requirement for students at schools statewide on Friday.
Per the WCCUSD resolutions, district students 12-years and older must receive their first COVID-19 vaccination shot by Nov. 15 and their second shot by Dec. 15, according to the WCCUSD. Students under 12 years old are required to receive their first shot no later than 30 calendar days following their 12th birthday and their second COVID-19 shot 60 days after their 12th birthday.
Students ages 12 and older who participate in in-person extracurricular activities must receive their first COVID-19 vaccination shot by Nov. 1 and the second vaccination shot by Dec. 1.
Proof of either a complete COVID-19 vaccination or a first shot must be presented by WCCUSD staff members and volunteers by Oct. 15; their second COVID-19 shot must be received by Nov. 15, per the district. The district’s Human Resources Department must receive final proof of staff members and volunteers’ complete vaccination status by Dec. 7.
Gov. Newsom’s statewide mandate will take effect the semester after the FDA approves the vaccine for children ages 12 and over. Right now the FDA has fully approved the vaccine for individuals 16 or older, while children as young as 12 have been able to receive the vaccine under emergency authorization. FDA approval could come this fall, meaning Newsom’s mandate would take effect in January.
Similar to WCCUSD’s mandate, unvaccinated students will have the option of enrolling in online school.
“Our schools already require vaccines for measles, mumps and more. Why? Because vaccines work,” Gov. Newsom said. “This is about keeping our kids safe & healthy.”
WCCUSD Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Chris Hurst said that the district took “the necessary mitigation and safety measures” when they reopened schools seven weeks ago. He called the board’s decision Thursday night “an additional safety measure that helps keep students, staff and the WCCUSD community safe.”
According to the district, students with approved exemptions as part of the WCCUSD’s current immunization policies are exempt from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement, but will be required to do rapid testing once every two weeks, per district policy.
Stay updated on the WCCUSD’s latest COVID-19 information here.