California Won’t Require COVID Vaccine to Attend Schools


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California children will not have to get a coronavirus vaccine to attend school. State public health officials confirmed Friday. ending one of the last major restrictions on the pandemic in the nation’s most populous state.

Governor. Gavin Newsom first announced the policy in 2021, saying it would eventually apply. To California’s 6.7 million public and private schoolchildren.

But since then, the crisis caused by a mysterious virus. In late 2019 has largely slipped from public consciousness. COVID-19 is still widespread, but the availability of multiple vaccines. Has lessened the impact of the virus for many — providing relief to what was an overwhelmed public health system.

Nearly all of Newsom’s pandemic restrictions have been lifted. And he cannot issue any new ones after Feb. 28. When the state’s coronavirus emergency declaration officially ends.

One of the last remaining questions was what would happen. To the state’s vaccine mandate for schoolchildren. A policy that came from the California Department of Public Health. And was not affected by the lifting of the emergency declaration.

On Friday, the Department of Public Health confirmed it was backing away from its original plan.

“CDPH is not currently exploring emergency rulemaking to. Add COVID-19 to the list of required school vaccinations. But we strongly recommend the COVID-19 vaccination for students. And staff to keep everyone safe in the classroom,” the department said in a statement. . “Any changes to required K-12 immunizations are properly addressed through the legislative process.”

The announcement is welcome news for Jonathan Zakreson, a father of three who lives in Roseville. Jackreson founded the group Reopen California Schools. To oppose many of the state’s coronavirus policies.

“It’s been a long time coming. …  wish CDPH would make a big public statement or Newsom would make a public statement … to let families know and school districts know that this is their There will be no more problems.”

California Won't Require COVID Vaccine to Attend Schools

Representatives for Newsom did not respond to an email requesting comment.

California has had an enormous impact on the country’s epidemic policy. It was the first state to issue a statewide stay-at-home order — and other states were quick to follow.

But most states have not followed California’s lead in mandating vaccines for public schools. Officials in  California  Louisiana announced a similar order, but later backed off. Schools in the District of Columbia plan to require the COVID-19 vaccine starting in the fall

Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin Keeley, a former state House member who challenged Newsom on. His pandemic policies in a failed recall effort in 2021, published a blog post declaring: “We won. To Gavin Newsom: You lost.

Kevin Gordon, a lobbyist representing most of the state’s school districts, said he doesn’t think the policy change. Is the result of political pressure from Republicans. But rather a reflection of the virus’s slow transmission rate.

“People’s appetite for such a mandate is certainly not what it used to be,” he said. “If you start imposing a heavy mandate now when the infection rate is significantly lower than it was statewide. A one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t work now.”

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