By Diana Labert
California state leaders seem to be quietly closing the door on the Covid-19 vaccine mandate for schoolchildren.
The California Department of Public Health hasn’t made an announcement, but officials told EdSource that the end of the state’s Covid-19 state of emergency on Feb. 28 effectively ends its current plan to add Covid-19 vaccinations to the list of 10 vaccinations children are required to have to attend school in person.
“We continue to strongly recommend Covid-19 immunization for students and staff to keep everyone safer in the classroom,” stated the email from the department. “Turnkey mobile vaccination services remain available for any K-12 school within the state.”
Source: California ends plans for kids’ Covid vaccine mandate | EdSource
By Todd R. Hansen
The state Covid-19 emergency that started in March 2020 is scheduled to end March 1.
The last day would be Feb. 28.“
Gov. (Gavin) Newsom could extend it, but I don’t see why he would,” Dr. Bela Matyas, the Solano County public health officer, said in a phone interview Thursday.
Matyas said not only is the trend of Covid cases declining, but trends for all common winter respiratory diseases are coming down, too.
Source: Winter diseases coming down across Solano; state readies to end Covid emergency
By Elizabeth Aguilera, CalMatters
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccination advisors voted earlier this month to recommend all children get the Covid-19 vaccine, a move that does not change California’s list of vaccines required for children to attend school.
The addition of the Covid-19 vaccine to the CDC’s recommended vaccines for kids is not a mandate for states’ school attendance requirements. Any additions to California’s list must be made by the state Legislature or the state Department of Public Health. In the last 12 months, the Newsom administration and the Legislature separately tried to mandate the Covid-19 vaccine for kids to attend school, and both failed.
Source: CDC paves way for California to require school Covid vaccines
By Kristen Hwang and Ana B. Ibarra
California’s COVID-19 state of emergency will end Feb. 28, 2023, nearly three years from its initiation, officials from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office announced Monday.
The announcement came as new variants spur concerns that there will be another deadly winter surge across the country and as test positivity rates plateau in California following a nearly three-month decline. More than 95,000 Californians have died as a result of COVID-19, according to state data.
The state of emergency gave Newsom broad, often controversial, powers to issue masking and vaccination mandates and temporary stay-at-home orders in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. It also enabled the governor to enter into nearly $12 billion dollars worth of no-bid emergency response contracts with testing facilities, personal protective equipment suppliers and temporary workforce agencies. Some of those contracts were with untested vendors who failed to deliver services.
Source: California to end the COVID state of emergency – The Vacaville Reporter
By Diana Lambert
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.
Source: California lifts vaccine mandate for school staff | EdSource
Earlier start times for middle and high school students, the expansion of transitional kindergarten, more after-school programs and the opening of more community schools are just some changes students and staff will have to adjust to this school year, while still dealing with COVID-19 safety protocols and persistent staff shortages.
Despite the challenges, educators seem confident that the experience of the last two years and increased resources will help them navigate another year of COVID-19, as well as new state programs.
“I am looking forward to another year of in-person instruction,” said Corey Willenberg, superintendent of Oroville Union High School District in Butte County. “We are going to offer kids and families a fantastic education despite the hurdles we are facing.”
Source: What’s new this school year? Changing COVID protocols, universal TK, later start times and more – The Vacaville Reporter
By Susan Hiland
The Fairfield-Suisun School District is gearing up for the new school year.
Board members heard an update Thursday on all the new things staff and students can expect when they come back to campus.
Schools are still dealing with Covid 19 issues but some things have changed from last year, according to Sheila McCabe, director of Secondary Education.
Source: Trustees in Fairfield-Suisun look ahead to new school year amid Covid concerns
By John Woolfolk
More than four in 10 parents say their kids fell behind academically during the COVID-19 pandemic, when California trailed the country in reopening classrooms to in-person learning, according to a poll released Wednesday.
Now that their kids are back in the classroom, three out four parents support the state’s decision to no longer require masks. But two-thirds of them are OK requiring students to receive COVID-19 vaccines once they’re approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
The new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California offers a glimpse of how parents in the Golden State feel state leaders and educators have dealt with the turmoil from the pandemic and the impact it’s had on the state’s 6 million K-12 students.
Source: More than four in 10 parents say kids fell behind from school closures – Times-Herald
Kairos Public Schools has received the state 2022 Pivotal Practice Award for its pandemic response – the only Solano County school to receive the recognition.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced the award Tuesday.
“We are proud of the courageous efforts of our staff and students as they responded with student-centered decision-making in the most challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic. The team’s perseverance and dedication to create learning systems for our scholars in a time when no school was prepared speaks to our spirit of innovation,” Jared Austin, the executive director of Kairos, said in a statement.
Source: Kairos Public Schools earns state award for pandemic response
California is seeing a boom in homeschooling. State numbers show it’s more than doubled since before the pandemic.
A controversial factor is possibly driving the increase. Nicole Nowling plans to pull her four children out of the Fairfield Suisun Unified School District if California enforces a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for kids.
“When you have the government essentially telling you, ‘We’re gonna tell you what to do, and what’s best.’ That’s a hard pill to swallow,” she said.
Source: Homeschooling In California Sees Boom; Looming Kids’ COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate May Be Driving Increase – CBS San Francisco
California public health officials announced Thursday that they will delay implementation of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus vaccine requirement in schools until at least July 1, 2023, pointing to the Food and Drug Administration’s lack of full approval for the vaccine for children of certain ages.
Vaccines will not be required for students for the 2022-2023 school year in order to “ensure sufficient time for successful implementation of new vaccine requirements,” California Department of Public Health officials said in a statement.
Requirements for coronavirus vaccines will not take effect in the state until the FDA approves them for children in grades 7 through 12 and “no sooner than” July 1, 2023, state public health officials said.
Source: COVID vaccine mandate for California schools delayed until 2023 [San Francisco Chronicle]
By Matt Miller
School leaders applauded Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recommendation Monday to lift mask mandates for students in what amounts to a small start in shifting back to pre-pandemic normalcy.
The mandate will be lifted at midnight March 12. Masks will continue to be “strongly recommended” as students head to school March 14 but not required, likely meaning many students will continue to choose to wear their masks and others will not.
“I appreciate the state’s announcement of moving from mask requirements to masks being strongly recommended for our schools,” Solano Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said by email. “The new guidelines seem to reflect recent Covid data and feedback from California families. California has had among the lowest pediatric hospitalization rates compared to other states, and the data is certainly trending in the right direction in Solano County.”
Source: Solano school leaders applaud state’s first step in lifting mask mandates
By Thomas Gase
On Tuesday night, the Benicia City Council lifted its mask mandate with 4-1 vote. The one vote against the motion belonged to Benicia Vice Mayor Tom Campbell.
Benicia will now follow the Solano County Public Health and California Department of Public Health State’s masking requirements, according to its website. Businesses may continue to require patrons to wear masks and individuals are free to continue wearing masks.
Students at schools in the Benicia Unified School District, however, are still required to wear masks.
Source: Benicia lifts mask mandate, is Vallejo next? – Times-Herald
Vallejo City Unified School District is opening its school site to the Touro Cares Mobile Vaccination Program for its 100th Vaccine Clinic on Wednesday, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Cooper Elementary School.
“We are proud to share this will be its 100th clinic offered to the community,” William Spalding, superintendent of VCUSD, said in a news release. “We are so grateful to make this partnership possible with Touro University California Cares Mobile Vaccination Program, which is funded by Kaiser Permanente.”
Cooper Elementary School is at 612 Del Mar Ave., Vallejo, CA. 94589.
Source: Touro Cares Mobile vaccination program hosts 100th vaccine clinic at VCUSD on Wednesday – Times-Herald
The Vacaville School District Testing Center has temporarily expanded its hours to serve students, staff and the community at-large.
The center, located at 621 S. Orchard Ave., across the street from Alamo Elementary, will be open by appointment only from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
The district testing center received additional temporary funding to address the current surge in Covid-19 cases, the school district reported in a letter to parents and guardians.
By Erin Heft
Extra funding through the state allowed a Vacaville COVID-19 testing site to expand its reach this weekend and give priority to first responders.
Site organizers say this is huge for their community, especially with the newest surge of COVID-19 cases across Northern California.
“This community really is looking to get tested and there’s really not a lot of choices,” said Ed Santopadre, associate superintendent with Vacaville Unified School District.
The site at the Vacaville Unified School District opened with funding from the California Department of Public Health late last year. But through more state funding it was able to expand its reach by opening three weekends in 2022 with COVID-19 testing for anyone.
Source: Vacaville coronavirus testing site opens with California funds
The federal government’s test website, COVIDtests.gov, is now live and began accepting orders Tuesday, one day ahead of schedule.
The Biden administration is using the website to distribute half a billion promised tests at no cost.
You can get four tests per household. They are expected to be mailed out seven to 12 days after your order.
There will also be a helpline to call and order tests.
By Tony Campbell
As the surging Omicron variant raises the number of COVID-19 cases in Solano County, local parents are increasingly concerned about keeping their kids in the classroom.
The rapid growth has been on the mind of Vallejo and Benicia school districts as they wrestle with the question of halting in-person instruction.
“As has been the experience of school districts throughout the region and across the state of California, the Vallejo City Unified School District has seen a steady uptick of positive COVID-19 cases among its staff and students,” district spokesperson Stephen Nichols said in an email to the Times-Herald on Thursday afternoon. “In alliance with the state and county public health agencies, the district continues to provide multiple and robust safeguards within its schools, offices, and classrooms to prevent the spread of the virus. At this time, absentee rates in the district average 20-25 percent overall, but it should be noted this includes all categories — not just COVID case absences, which is a fraction of the total absences.”