Well-Being

California becomes first state to require COVID-19 vaccines or regular testing for teachers

getty: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D)

Story at a glance

  • “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,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said.
  • School districts in Long Beach, Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco had already announced a vaccine requirement for staff prior to Newsom’s announcement.
  • The statewide vaccine mandate for schools comes as students return to classrooms amid increasing concerns of the highly contagious delta variant.

California has become the first state in the nation to require all teachers and school staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face consistent testing. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.,) on Wednesday announced educators and staff must present proof of full vaccination or be tested at least once or week. 

“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,” the governor said in a statement

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

The new rule will go into effect Thursday and the state’s more than 1,000 school districts must be in full compliance by Oct. 15. 

The statewide vaccine mandate for schools comes as students return to classrooms amid increasing concerns of the highly contagious delta variant. 

Just weeks after daily COVID-19 cases reached their lowest point in the U.S., the country is now recording an average of 100,000 new infections per day, with a higher percentage of children becoming infected. 


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A data analysis from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found that children made up about 15 percent of all newly reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. for the week ending on Aug. 5.

About 94,000 children were diagnosed with COVID-19 last week. From July 22 to July 29, almost 72,000 new cases were reported, nearly twice as many as in the previous week, according to AAP. 

School districts in Long Beach, Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco had already announced a vaccine requirement for staff prior to Newsom’s announcement. 

A similar mandate requiring state employees and workers in health care and high-risk congregate settings to provide proof of vaccination or be subject to testing went into effect last week. 


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