When we made the difficult decision to close our schools in March of 2020 and transition to remote instruction, we did not know how long the COVID-19 global pandemic would last. We hoped we could find a way to bring everyone back safely and keep our school campuses classrooms, lunch areas and play areas open to our students. Testing and vaccination made that possible and continue to be a key component to keeping our campuses open and safe. COVID-19 is still a current concern within our community. The demands of running our schools are much more complicated as we have implemented screening, testing operations, and vaccination opportunities, while maintaining efforts to provide efficient instruction and connect students with educational resources. It has been challenging for all of us and I appreciate everything you have done to support our school community and each other.
As a District where health and safety are our top priority, we implement Health and Safety measures, requirements, and laws that would contribute to our efforts.
We understand that there have been some concerns about Governor Newsom’s October 1st proposed mandate, which would require students attending in-person instruction to be vaccinated against COVID-19. However, we do not support the intentional disruption of instruction on October 18th being proposed over social media. Regardless of the causes or viewpoints at issue, our expectation is that:
• Our employees report to work on October 18th to perform their job duties and responsibilities during scheduled work hours to support our students.
• Our students attend school on October 18th. Keeping children home from school to protest the proposed COVID-19 vaccine mandate would only result in lost learning time for students.
The COVID-19 vaccination mandate for student is not yet in effect but has an anticipated start date of January 1, 2022 or July 1, 2022, which must first have full FDA approval. The California Department of Pubic Health will initiate the rulemaking process and write regulations that will address requirements such as the process and scope of medical and personal exemptions.
We will continue to openly communicate with you regarding in-person instruction and the impact of COVID-19. We want all of our students in the classroom, and we want everyone to feel safe and supported. This pandemic has taught us that we are most effective in fulfilling that mission when we work together. Thank you for your support as we continue to prioritize the health and safety of our students and school community.
Erika F. Torres, Ed.D., MSW