California first state to require vaccine or weekly testing for school teachers, staff

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All school teachers and staff in California will have to show proof they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 — or get tested every week, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

The Golden State will be the first state in the nation to impose a vaccine requirement for its K-12 schools amid soaring cases of the virus due to the more contagious Delta variant.

The policy kicks in Thursday but schools will have until Oct. 15 to be fully compliant, Newsom said.

“Vaccinations are how we will end this pandemic,” Newsom, a Democrat, said in a statement.

“As a father, I look forward to start of the school year and seeing all California kids back in the classroom.”

The action comes in addition to a mask mandate for indoor classes that applies to all teachers and students. The Delta variant has raised concerns among educators because it appears more likely to affect children than other strains at a time when children under 12 are not yet eligible to get vaccinated.

The state is experiencing its fastest increase in COVID cases during the entire pandemic, with 22.7 new daily cases per 100,000 people, according to the state Department of Health. But less than 41 percent of residents in the 12 to 17 age group are fully vaccinated, the department said.

Sixty-three percent of Californians over 12 are fully vaccinated and another 10 percent are partially vaccinated, according to the department.

Toby Boyd, president of the California Teachers Association, said the requirement was an appropriate step for the safety of kids under 12 who aren’t vaccine eligible.

“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,” Boyd said in a statement.

Newsom has already required all state workers to show proof of vaccination or get tested regularly and is requiring all health care workers get fully vaccinated by Sept. 30.

“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 Tomas Aragon, director of the Department of Health.

The statewide mandate for schools supersedes jabbing requirements in big city school districts including San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, the Associated Press reported.

With Post wires

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