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Measles, mumps and COVID: High school district officials want California to add COVID-19 to vaccinations required of students

Menlo-Atherton High School teacher Stephen Ready places a wristband on then-senior Kiana Pavlovic to indicate she passed the health screening in Atherton on April 6, 2021. The district would like to see the state set COVID-19 vaccine requirements. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Officials in the Sequoia Union High School District are asking the state to require that students be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend in-person classes.

In a Wednesday letter to Gov. Gavin Newson, Sequoia governing board trustees, Superintendent Darnise Williams and San Mateo County Office of Education Superintendent Nancy Magee said that they'd like COVID-19 vaccinations to be added to the list of legally required immunizations for students.

Superintendent Darnise Williams. Courtesy Sequoia Union High School District.

"For generations, immunization against certain diseases has been a legal requirement for public school attendance," they wrote. "Currently, eligible students must be excluded from school attendance unless they present documentation of immunization against measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyeltits, hepatitis B, varicella (chickenpox) and Hib meningitis. Under the current conditions, we find it extremely troublesome that each and every school district in California must act as medical experts and determine whether or not to require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in California's schools."

Instead, they said that these decisions should be driven by the state of through legislation or action by the California Department of Health.

Under the current system, school district officials are forced to make what amounts to medical decisions while being "squarely in the middle of political divides," the letter states.

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In early August, Williams said officials are working to survey students on their vaccination status, but it's voluntary for students to share if they've been inoculated. She noted that the district hopes to collect those numbers by this month. The district expects to collect the data on Sept. 27, said Ana Maria Pulido, in an email. Staff will update the board at a forthcoming meeting, she said.

Read the full letter here.

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Angela Swartz
 
Angela Swartz joined The Almanac in 2018 and covers education and small towns. She has a background covering education, city politics and business. Read more >>

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Measles, mumps and COVID: High school district officials want California to add COVID-19 to vaccinations required of students

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Thu, Sep 16, 2021, 11:29 am

Officials in the Sequoia Union High School District are asking the state to require that students be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend in-person classes.

In a Wednesday letter to Gov. Gavin Newson, Sequoia governing board trustees, Superintendent Darnise Williams and San Mateo County Office of Education Superintendent Nancy Magee said that they'd like COVID-19 vaccinations to be added to the list of legally required immunizations for students.

"For generations, immunization against certain diseases has been a legal requirement for public school attendance," they wrote. "Currently, eligible students must be excluded from school attendance unless they present documentation of immunization against measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyeltits, hepatitis B, varicella (chickenpox) and Hib meningitis. Under the current conditions, we find it extremely troublesome that each and every school district in California must act as medical experts and determine whether or not to require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in California's schools."

Instead, they said that these decisions should be driven by the state of through legislation or action by the California Department of Health.

Under the current system, school district officials are forced to make what amounts to medical decisions while being "squarely in the middle of political divides," the letter states.

In early August, Williams said officials are working to survey students on their vaccination status, but it's voluntary for students to share if they've been inoculated. She noted that the district hopes to collect those numbers by this month. The district expects to collect the data on Sept. 27, said Ana Maria Pulido, in an email. Staff will update the board at a forthcoming meeting, she said.

Read the full letter here.

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