California is the first state to implement an order of this kind in the country.
On Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new order that requires all public school employees to be vaccinated or undergo regular testing. This comes amidst a severe surge in COVID-19 cases just as schools prepare to welcome back students in the coming weeks. The mandate goes into effect from Thursday 13, 2021 and all state schools will need to comply with the changes by October 15, according to the Governor’s office.
“We think this is the right thing to do and we think this is a sustainable way to keeping our schools open and to address the number one anxiety that parents like myself have for young children,” Newsom said.
A similar order is already in place for medical workers in California which the L.A. County Department of Public Health plans to align with, requiring all healthcare staff to be fully vaccinated or regularly tested by September 30.
These efforts are aimed at curbing the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant and keeping the state open. While the vaccine isn’t a guaranteed guard against the virus, those vaccinated are less likely to be hospitalized and less than 1% are likely to be infected, says , director public health Barbara Ferrer.