Calif. dumps COVID vaccine requirement for teachers, school staff

Teachers and other school staff who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer have to be tested weekly to remain on campuses after this week.

Tuesday State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón rescinded a public health order requiring that all school employees show proof of vaccination or be tested at least weekly. The new policy is effective Sept. 17.

The decision was made to align state and federal health guidance and because most Californians have been vaccinated against the virus, he said.

“We’ve entered a phase of the pandemic where the majority of people in these workplace settings are vaccinated, and our youngest Californians are now eligible for vaccination too, which protects all of our communities against severe illness, hospitalization and death,” Aragón said. “While unvaccinated individuals remain at greatest risk of serious health consequences from COVID-19 infection, weekly testing of unvaccinated groups is no longer slowing the spread as it did earlier in the pandemic due to the more infectious Omicron variants.” 

Currently, 80% of California residents 12 years of age and older have had the first two vaccinations that make up the primary series of vaccines, according to a press release from the health department. Just under half have received their first booster. The department did not say how many California residents have had the second booster.

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Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.