California Becomes First State to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccination in Schools

This morning, appearing at a San Francisco middle school, Governor Newsom announced that California would be requiring all school-aged children to be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. The California Department of Public Health will add COVID-19 vaccination to the list of required vaccinations for in-person instruction through the emergency rulemaking process. The vaccination requirement will apply to all elementary and secondary public and private school students in California and will be phased in through two waves.

In phase one, students in grades seven through twelve will be required to be vaccinated for in-person learning starting the term after the FDA grants full approval of the vaccine for their grade span. The Administration anticipates that could occur as early as January 1, 2022, or as late as July 1, 2022. Teachers and school staff, who are currently required to be vaccinated or to test weekly, will be converted to a vaccine mandate no later than when the first phase of the student requirement becomes effective. During the second phase, students in grades kindergarten through sixth will also be required to be vaccinated once the FDA grants full approval for their grade span.

Students who are under the age of full approval, but within the grade span, will be required to be vaccinated once they reach the age of full approval (with a reasonable period of time to receive both doses), consistent with existing procedures for other vaccines. In addition, these requirements will be subject to both medical and personal belief exemptions because the changes are being made through regulation and not statute.

The Governor’s announcement can be found here and a fact sheet can be found here.