News

'We are not done': Local leaders want schools to mandate vaccines for employees

Call to action comes as students prepare to go back to class while COVID cases remain on the rise

People wait at a vaccination site at Cesar Chavez Ravenswood Middle School in East Palo Alto on May 15, 2020. Photo by Daniela Beltran B.

State Sen. Josh Becker and East Palo Alto City Council member Antonio Lopez called on school districts to mandate vaccines for its employees during a joint press conference hosted at the Ravenswood Family Health Center on Tuesday.

"As we prepare to send our kids back to school, as my wife and I prepare to send our kids back to our public schools, now is the moment for us to create a wall of safety around our kids," Becker, D-Menlo Park, said during the morning event in East Palo Alto.

This academic year, most students are expected to return to the classroom, a move that local, state and federal health officials have urged given the learning loss as well as other health and economic burdens that come with distance learning.

But the urgency to get back inside the classroom also comes as COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise, particularly due to the more infectious delta variant. Eight Bay Area county health officers reinstated mask mandates in indoor settings starting Tuesday.

All the while, children under 12 years old are still not cleared to receive any of the available vaccines, leaving them vulnerable to the virus.

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During the news conference, Becker suggested schools should aim to get 100% of their staff inoculated.

"Even if 80%, 90% of teachers and staff are vaccinated, what if your kid is interacting with the other 10% to 20%?" Becker said. "So let's put our kids first."

The senator also added that he has recently heard of several COVID-19 outbreaks in schools, including at Brentwood Union School District in Contra Costa County.

California and Santa Clara County so far have been reluctant to implement a vaccination mandate outside of their own public employees, instead sticking with recommendations to implement them in the workplace, for example.

On July 26, the American Federation of Teachers, which represents about 1.7 million educators across the nation, according to its website, issued a press release that stated vaccinations should "be negotiated between employers and workers, not coerced."

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Some universities and local school districts are already requiring teachers and students to be vaccinated before they come to campus this fall.

Stanford University announced its decision to do so in late April; the Foothill-De Anza Community College District board of trustees adopted a vaccine mandate for its students and employees in June; and San Jose Unified School District, the largest school district in Santa Clara County, announced on July 27 that it will require teachers and staff to be vaccinated or tested twice a week for COVID-19.

Lopez said on Tuesday that he has not yet had conversations with the Ravenswood City School District regarding its vaccination progress, but followed Becker in urging everyone to get the vaccine.

"We are now largely vaccinated," Lopez said, referring to the East Palo Alto population. "But we are not done."

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'We are not done': Local leaders want schools to mandate vaccines for employees

Call to action comes as students prepare to go back to class while COVID cases remain on the rise

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Aug 4, 2021, 10:38 am

State Sen. Josh Becker and East Palo Alto City Council member Antonio Lopez called on school districts to mandate vaccines for its employees during a joint press conference hosted at the Ravenswood Family Health Center on Tuesday.

"As we prepare to send our kids back to school, as my wife and I prepare to send our kids back to our public schools, now is the moment for us to create a wall of safety around our kids," Becker, D-Menlo Park, said during the morning event in East Palo Alto.

This academic year, most students are expected to return to the classroom, a move that local, state and federal health officials have urged given the learning loss as well as other health and economic burdens that come with distance learning.

But the urgency to get back inside the classroom also comes as COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise, particularly due to the more infectious delta variant. Eight Bay Area county health officers reinstated mask mandates in indoor settings starting Tuesday.

All the while, children under 12 years old are still not cleared to receive any of the available vaccines, leaving them vulnerable to the virus.

During the news conference, Becker suggested schools should aim to get 100% of their staff inoculated.

"Even if 80%, 90% of teachers and staff are vaccinated, what if your kid is interacting with the other 10% to 20%?" Becker said. "So let's put our kids first."

The senator also added that he has recently heard of several COVID-19 outbreaks in schools, including at Brentwood Union School District in Contra Costa County.

California and Santa Clara County so far have been reluctant to implement a vaccination mandate outside of their own public employees, instead sticking with recommendations to implement them in the workplace, for example.

On July 26, the American Federation of Teachers, which represents about 1.7 million educators across the nation, according to its website, issued a press release that stated vaccinations should "be negotiated between employers and workers, not coerced."

Some universities and local school districts are already requiring teachers and students to be vaccinated before they come to campus this fall.

Stanford University announced its decision to do so in late April; the Foothill-De Anza Community College District board of trustees adopted a vaccine mandate for its students and employees in June; and San Jose Unified School District, the largest school district in Santa Clara County, announced on July 27 that it will require teachers and staff to be vaccinated or tested twice a week for COVID-19.

Lopez said on Tuesday that he has not yet had conversations with the Ravenswood City School District regarding its vaccination progress, but followed Becker in urging everyone to get the vaccine.

"We are now largely vaccinated," Lopez said, referring to the East Palo Alto population. "But we are not done."

Comments

acomfort
Registered user
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Aug 4, 2021 at 12:46 pm
acomfort, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
Registered user
on Aug 4, 2021 at 12:46 pm

"Will you ever run an article where you interview a person who refuses to take the so called vaccine and let them make the points they want to.
OR
We might learn a lot if you publish a debate
between a pro-vaccine and an anti-vaccine person. We might learn why some take it and some wont."


Healthy & wary
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 4, 2021 at 1:20 pm
Healthy & wary , Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Aug 4, 2021 at 1:20 pm

Again the media fails to own the fact that these shots are under emergency use authorizations and its unconstitutional to force people to take them.
The constant propaganda campaigns & scare tactics are not appreciated.
The hearsay passed off as facts is nauseating.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 4, 2021 at 6:15 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 4, 2021 at 6:15 pm

Healthy and Wary:

Think again. The supreme court ruled long ago that people can be compelled to be vaccinated or barred from certain activities. It's not unconstitutional.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 4, 2021 at 6:15 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 4, 2021 at 6:15 pm

acomfort:

To have a debate there must be facts on either side. The problem is the anti-vaxxers have no facts. Therefor no debate is possible.


Atherton Resident
Registered user
Atherton: other
on Aug 5, 2021 at 1:05 pm
Atherton Resident, Atherton: other
Registered user
on Aug 5, 2021 at 1:05 pm

[Post removed due to disinformation]


menlo mom
Registered user
Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 5, 2021 at 1:53 pm
menlo mom, Menlo Park: University Heights
Registered user
on Aug 5, 2021 at 1:53 pm

Menlo+Voter:
I respectfully disagree with your statement, "To have a debate there must be facts on either side. The problem is the anti-vaxxers have no facts. Therefor no debate is possible."

And I agree with acomfort, in that it's time to start talking to, and listening to, the anti-vaxxers, and the vaccine-hesitant. Unlike what the media and Washington like to portray, the people, and their reasons, are many and varied. And if the ultimate goal is to get them vaccinated, why would we not want to hear what their reasons are?

Back to Menlo+Voter's assertion about lack of facts. (Not sure "facts" is the right word for this discussion. Opinions, or interpretations of the facts, is what should be debated, but for argument's sake I'll go with "facts.") I can't give voice to the many people out there who haven't been vaccinated, but I can give one example of a family member of mine. My son, who is in his mid-20's and perfectly healthy, with no underlying conditions, contracted Covid in late November. It laid him up for about 5-7 days, but working from home he only missed about a day and a half of work. He has made the decision that FOR NOW he is counting on his natural immunity. He may get a shot (or two) at some point in the future, but he's not in a hurry. He feels that even if he gets a breakthrough case, he is in no danger of being hospitalized. So why take a medicine he doesn't need?

And as far as facts go, the CDC released a study in May of this year, in which they concluded that: "...recent evidence suggests that natural infection may provide similar protection against symptomatic disease as vaccination, at
least for the available follow up period." (link below) They do say that it is unclear how long natural immunity lasts, as studies have only been done up to 8 months, or how it will fare against new variants. But these are equally unclear with vaccines.


Web Link


menlo mom
Registered user
Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 5, 2021 at 2:04 pm
menlo mom, Menlo Park: University Heights
Registered user
on Aug 5, 2021 at 2:04 pm

An interesting side note about the study above. I first searched for this on my iPhone, where I use DuckDuckGo as my search engine. I used "natural immunity covid-19" and it was the very first item to come up. But I moved to my laptop for posting purposes and went to pull it up using Google. The actual CDC report is nowhere to be found on the first page of listings. There were, on the other hand, a few very tilted news analyses of it. The actual CDC report can be found as the fourth item on the second page.

I have been frustrated since the beginning on the lack of info and/or studies about natural immunity. If the CDC can not show evidence that natural immunity does not work just as well, or almost as well as vaccines, why aren't we counting both the same?

If I had conspiracy tendencies, I would start to wonder about government and big pharma.....


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 5, 2021 at 4:30 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 5, 2021 at 4:30 pm

Menlo mom:

the problem with the natural immunity route is that one has to get covid to develop that immunity. Unlike your son's experience many, many people become extremely sick, have to be put on ventilators, overwhelm the health care system and many die. 600,000 dead and counting in the US alone.

Or we can go the less risky route and vaccinate.

That's not interpretation, those are facts.


menlo mom
Registered user
Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 5, 2021 at 5:20 pm
menlo mom, Menlo Park: University Heights
Registered user
on Aug 5, 2021 at 5:20 pm

@Menlo-Voter
I think you're missing my point. Of course, if you have not had Covid I highly recommend that you get vaccinated. But many, many of those unvaccinated have chosen this route BECAUSE they have natural immunity. And if we continue to disparage every single person who hasn't gotten the vaccine, acting like they are evil incarnate (and uneducated idiots), the numbers will stay where they are. I am only listing one possible reasons for the unvaxxers. To hear the rest, we need to open a dialogue, which involves actively LISTENING, and end this cycle of demonizing and scolding. Psychology 101 will teach you that this will never convince a single soul.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 5, 2021 at 6:44 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 5, 2021 at 6:44 pm

menlo mom:

unless you've had covid you have no way to know if you are "naturally" immune. Short of a dna blood test for covid antibodies or having suffered the symptoms one can't know they are immune.

I never suggested someone that has had covid should also be vaccinated. Most anti-vaxxers aren't people that have had covid, they just don't "believe" in vaccines.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 5, 2021 at 6:51 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 5, 2021 at 6:51 pm

healthy & wary:

in case you weren't sure about the SCOTUS decision on mandatory vaccines:

Jacobson v. Massachusetts

Web Link


menlo mom
Registered user
Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 6, 2021 at 5:03 am
menlo mom, Menlo Park: University Heights
Registered user
on Aug 6, 2021 at 5:03 am

@menlo-voter
As stated earlier, there are many reasons that people are not taking the vaccine. And I have seen very little reported and reliable looks into who these people actually are and what they believe. But I personally know more than one. In addition to my son and his girlfriend, who both had it, so are waiting (and I'd venture to guess that many more than you think fall into this category), I have a very close friend who is hesitant for another reason. When her oldest child was an infant, she had a large problem with reflux: she couldn't keep her formula down. She would projectile vomit 4-5x a day, and wasn't gaining weight at an acceptable rate. After months of trying many different solutions, the doctor finally put her on some meds. My friend viewed them as a miracle. Fast forward two years, and child number two was going through the same issue. Mom went to the pediatrician and said, "Let's skip right to the meds." Doctor: "THOSE meds? God, no. They took those off the market. Kids were dying." Now she is told that this vaccine was developed, tested, and distributed in just over a year. She and her husband are not getting it and unless her kids' colleges require it, she's not having them get it either.

As far as the extreme anti-vaxxers that I know you are picturing (the stereotyped ones with Trump flags in their yards and MAGA hats in their closets) I know a couple of these too. (In fact I'll see them at a wedding this weekend and will again encourage them to get the shot.) You said that they don't believe in vaccines. You misunderstand their mindset. It's not vaccines that they have no faith in...it's our government.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 6, 2021 at 9:35 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 6, 2021 at 9:35 am

menlo mom:

I am basing my opinion of anti-vaxxers on those that are vocal about. Most of them are conspiracy believing nut jobs. Just like your MAGA friends that don't trust the government. Those types don't trust the government until it's convenient for them to do so. They're usually ignorant, ill informed and scientifically illiterate.

While the vaccines were developed in a year they were all based on well known and well established procedures and processes. There is less to worry about risk wise from a vaccine than a case of Covid.


menlo mom
Registered user
Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 6, 2021 at 1:49 pm
menlo mom, Menlo Park: University Heights
Registered user
on Aug 6, 2021 at 1:49 pm

well, by all means, let's continue to call them nut jobs and watch those vaccination rates rise. I'd love to explain to you how my friends are both highly educated and quite successful in their respective careers, but I'd hate to have the facts interfere with your assumptions.

I can't help but think what would have happened if Trump had been elected. (And don't take this flight of fancy as my own wish for this). Would Kamala Harris still be maligning the vaccine, developed under Trump? Would Democratic governors continue to state that they would need to do their own tests on it before ok'ing it for their state? Would the mistrust of government and it's inner workings be coming from the other side of the aisle? And mostly I wonder, what would our vaccination numbers be on Aug 6? just a thought....


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 6, 2021 at 2:47 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 6, 2021 at 2:47 pm

menlo mom:

vaccination rates are rising. I'd posit it is because those that refused to get vaccinated are now seeing that virtually all of those hospitalized or dying from Covid are unvaccinated. Sometimes facts have a way of beating their way into even the thickest skulls. It's hard to argue the vaccine is worse than covid or that it doesn't work when only those dying are unvaccinated.

Oh and a high education and success in one's career and being ignorant, ill informed and scientifically illiterate are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I know plenty of very smart people that have ZERO common sense.


Observer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 6, 2021 at 4:05 pm
Observer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Aug 6, 2021 at 4:05 pm

Still waiting to see one decent anti-vaxxer argument. The only people over 12 with a good excuse are those with medical issues that prevent successful immunization.

The MAGAts who don't trust government should be reassured by the fact that current vaccines were developed in many countries, most during the prior administration. But if the prior president had won reelection, few of us would have gotten the vaccine. Millions more would developed long covid or died. (Of course, I'm just speculating, but vaccine rollout after approval was dismal until the Biden team took over.)

Having covid does not necessarily confer immunity, and many people have gotten sicker/died the second time around.

As for "I'm young and healthy" -- maybe you will have a mild or symptom-free case. Are you okay with the strong possibility that you will infect others who may become extremely sick or die?

The vaccine isn't ideal, but it's currently our primary weapon against this deadly disease. I'm sad to see how many selfish, callous people live among us.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 6, 2021 at 6:39 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 6, 2021 at 6:39 pm

"Still waiting to see one decent anti-vaxxer argument."

Same


gtspencer
Registered user
Atherton: West of Alameda
on Aug 6, 2021 at 7:16 pm
gtspencer, Atherton: West of Alameda
Registered user
on Aug 6, 2021 at 7:16 pm

"Still waiting to see one decent anti-vaxxer argument."

How about my right to choose as a free American.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 6, 2021 at 7:29 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 6, 2021 at 7:29 pm

"How about my right to choose as a free American."

How about our rights to not be killed by your choice. By the way, the SCOTUS decided in 1905 that when it comes to mandatory vaccination you DON'T have a right to choose.

Jacobson v. Massachusetts

Web Link


gtspencer
Registered user
Atherton: West of Alameda
on Aug 6, 2021 at 9:04 pm
gtspencer, Atherton: West of Alameda
Registered user
on Aug 6, 2021 at 9:04 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Observer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 6, 2021 at 9:10 pm
Observer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Aug 6, 2021 at 9:10 pm

That's all the anti-vaxxers got: the self-asserted right to infect others and name calling


Scott
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 6, 2021 at 10:03 pm
Scott, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Aug 6, 2021 at 10:03 pm

Here is a recent study showing that the immunity from one of the RNA vaccines is better than natural immunity. With Delta out there, folks who have had covid earlier should get one of the mRNA vaccines.

Web Link

Delta is no joke. It is significantly more contagious and makes more copies per infection. Having a pool of unvaccinated provides more opportunity to mutate again. Look at MO and TX, where they are getting short of ICU beds due to vaccine hesitation. San Mateo has an amazing 90% vaccination rate among residents over the age of 12. The community has made the correct choice. We have effectively "mandated" vaccination by our individual choice. If you live in San Mateo and have not gotten the vaccine, you are an outlier and should do some introspection as to why.

Web Link

Children and teens can get long covid, which thankfully is rare, but is life altering. Most of the reports are anecdotal, but they are chilling. Get vaccinated to protect the kids around you who are under 12.

The FDA approval for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are coming in the next few weeks. Once this happens, mandated vaccines will be on firmer grounds.

Getting vaccinated and wearing masks is my way of keeping myself and my community safe. As scary as it can be, the ethical choice is to be vaccinated. There was enough good information in March, and now there is even more now.


Scott
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 6, 2021 at 10:05 pm
Scott, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Aug 6, 2021 at 10:05 pm
Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 7, 2021 at 8:25 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 7, 2021 at 8:25 am

gtspencer:

Why don't YOU stay home. You don't have a right to infect the rest of us because you're afraid of getting vaccinated.


gtspencer
Registered user
Atherton: West of Alameda
on Aug 7, 2021 at 1:46 pm
gtspencer, Atherton: West of Alameda
Registered user
on Aug 7, 2021 at 1:46 pm

Menlo Voter

I already have my flu shot,,,,I'm good


Observer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 7, 2021 at 3:07 pm
Observer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Aug 7, 2021 at 3:07 pm

The flu shot will not protect you from covid.

Oh, I get it! You're one of those "it's only the flu" people. Um, not quite.

Flu season runs from October 1-April 1. For the most recent flu season that ended April 1, 2021, estimated deaths are under 1,000. For that same six month period, covid deaths were approximately 340,000.

See any difference?

If you do a little research, you might learn that -- although some of the symptoms are the same -- a coronavirus is not influenza. The vaccines are different. The disease side effects are different. Too, many of us have some level of immunity to influenza due to exposure throughout our lives. Covid-19 is new; no one has natural immunity.

It's never too late to educate yourself! And might be a better use of your time than posting here.


gtspencer
Registered user
Atherton: West of Alameda
on Aug 7, 2021 at 7:02 pm
gtspencer, Atherton: West of Alameda
Registered user
on Aug 7, 2021 at 7:02 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 7, 2021 at 8:31 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 7, 2021 at 8:31 pm

gtspencer:

if you did anything beyond listening to Fox you'd find information from the CDC. You know, the people in this country that are responsible for dealing with pandemics. You know, the ones with actual medical degrees. Unlike Hannity et al. And guess what? You don't have to go to CNN to find the information.


Enough
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 8, 2021 at 10:07 pm
Enough, Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 8, 2021 at 10:07 pm

gtspencer,

You are right, this is America and the America I know and love has people that lookout for and care about their country and fellow citizens. People who choose to ignore the data and put others at risk are not "Americans" they are selfish individuals that do not care about their fellow Americans, neighbors, vulnerable in our community. I got vaccinated not just for myself but for my 70+ year old neighbor, for the person down the street with heart troubles, for the people fighting cancer with Chemo and for the kid I know on the Stanford Transplant list. I chose not to just think of myself. I certainly looked at the data first and made my decision, and that was to care about others as well as myself. Can you and the others arguing about this say the same...?


Westbrook
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 9, 2021 at 1:02 pm
Westbrook, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Aug 9, 2021 at 1:02 pm

Another way to look at it is, "we are the privileged" To have the best vaccines in the world, To have easy access, To have at no cost, To know we have the best care should we need it. but that High Quality of Care is being depleted every day thanks to you not being vaccinated, Hospitals are being over-taxed again, You see you not being vaccinated affects the rest of us in many ways, not just that you are spreading it to the rest of us. Since we now know the vaccinated can still get infected, Personally when I got my shots I felt like the luckiest guy around, I felt like I won the lottery, Got my second Pfizer shot on my birthday, What a gift, knowing I won't be suffering a horrible death isolated in a bleak hospital room alone, due to covid, You need to appreciate privilege when it comes your way, People around the World would give anything to be in our position and you flaunt it.


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