Bay Area school districts to consider vaccine mandates for staff, students

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — School districts in the Bay Area have started to consider mandating vaccinations against COVID-19 for all staff and students 12 years and older.

“Our priority should always be keeping people healthy, and keeping people safe and keeping our schools open in a safe way.”

West Contra Costa Unified School District was supposed to be the first Bay Area district to address possibly mandating vaccines for all staff and students 12 and older.

But the superintendent canceled a meeting for Tuesday.

There’s no date yet to reschedule.

President of United Teachers of Richmond, Marissa Gladden, says their union members are for the mandate.

“We put out a survey and 90 percent of our members were in favor of a vaccine mandate for all eligible students and staff.”

She says they believe in addition to a mandate the district should take on the responsibility of clinics and education on the vaccine.

In Oakland — the school board will begin discussing a vaccine mandate on Wednesday.

“There are a lot of questions about implementation, timelines, what exceptions we need to have.”

Vice president of the Oakland Unified School District Board Sam Davis says introduced the proposal.

He says more than 70 percent of students 12 through 18 years old are already vaccinated, but that’s not enough.

“I really want to see our students in school.”

He thinks this mandate will help keep them in school.

But Oakland Unified School Board Director of District 5, Mike Hutchinson, says he’s not for the mandate.

“A real focused educational campaign about the importance of getting vaccinated. But I think once we make the move to make them mandatory it’s problematic in a couple of fronts.”

He says some students could have issues with accessibility.

He believes this is a statewide issue and shouldn’t be left to individual school boards.

“Action needs to come from the state legislator. I just know for myself as a citizen in California I don’t want local school boards making a decision of what’s a vaccination and what’s not.”

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