FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — On Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new requirement from the state for all California teachers and school staff to be vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, the first such requirement of any state in the nation.
School districts have until Oct. 15 to fully implement the new requirement. This directive follows suit with the COVID-19 vaccine and testing requirements.
“We think this is the right thing to do,” Newsom said at an Oakland news conference. “And we think this is a sustainable way to keeping our schools open.”
In Fresno County, one Clovis Unified teacher at Buchanan High School feels these requirements will help keep teachers and students in the classroom, and not at home. She supports the governor’s move.
“We’re excited that he fell onto the side of education and healthy education for students and staff,” said Kristin Heimerdinger. “Nobody loved the online learning last year. We don’t want to have to return to that platform, we want to keep our students in class.”
A spokesperson for Clovis Unified would not immediately comment on the new guidance. Fresno Unified School District returns to class Thursday. Vanessa Ramirez, a spokesperson for the district, said in a statement that the district will implement the guidelines.
“Our focus continues to remain on getting our students back to school tomorrow safely, responsibly and happily,” Ramirez said. “We plan to continue complying with mandates that come our way, such as indoor mask-wearing and this vaccination/testing requirement for staff.”
A spokesperson for Central Unified School District says the new guidelines are being reviewed by district officials.
Dr. Naomi Bardach is a leading UCSF pediatrician and also helps run the state’s “Safe Schools for All” program. She says this initiative from the governor will hopefully lead to more of a sense of normalcy in schools.
“Having people vaccinated in schools is a terrific safety layer, it’s one of the key and core safety layers that both the CDC points to and the California Department of Public Health.