County health officer supports COVID vaccination requirements at West Contra Costa Unified Schools – CBS San Francisco
RICHMOND (CBSSF) – Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano added his vote Friday to those who support a motion requiring all eligible students, teachers, and staff in the West Contra Costa Unified School District to show evidence of COVID-19 vaccination .
School board members Demetrio Gonzalez Howe and Ethere Christian say they will present a resolution to the board at a special meeting Tuesday calling for the mandate to be issued for the district serving more than 28,000 students in Richmond, El Cerrito, Hercules, Pinol, San Pablo and several unincorporated areas.
In a letter to the board of directors published Friday, Farnitano said neighborhoods around schools have been hit hard by the coronavirus.
“The communities your area serves have experienced a disproportionate impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, with higher rates of illness, hospitalization, and death compared to the province as a whole,” Farnitano wrote. “Vaccination is the best way we have to prevent transmission of COVID-19 to teachers, staff, students, student families, staff and the broader community.”
If approved, it would become the first region in Northern California to issue one of the strongest states to combat COVID. Recently, public school systems in Los Angeles – the second largest in the United States – and Culver City have required shots for eligible students.
The mandates will give students 12 years of age or older until October 3 for the first dose of the vaccine and until October 31 for the second dose. Students who turn 12 during the school year will have a month after their birthday to get vaccinated.
Without exception for religious or medical reasons, students will have to enroll in the District Virtual Academy if they do not comply.
Last week, the district had 49 COVID cases — eight employees and 41 students.
Meanwhile, board members for the Auckland school district, which serves about 50,000 students, plan to take up a similar proposal on Wednesday.
A majority of Oakland Unified’s seven board members support the mandate, but others have reservations about the prospect of pushing students out of the classroom.