With full approval for COVID-19 vaccines rolling out, some San Mateo County school districts have begun discussions around whether they should adopt school vaccine policies that either kick in sooner or are stricter than the state’s, a move county counsel said could be legally supported. 

“The whole point is to provide a safe school environment for our students and those who don’t have the opportunity to get vaccinated,” Dr. Chialin Hsieh, member of the South San Francisco School Board of Trustees said during a study session on Thursday, Oct. 21. 

The district has followed the San Mateo Union High School District and the San Mateo County Community College District in discussing some form of mandate.  

Deputy County Counsel Lisa Cho told SSFUSD officials that students ages 16 and older would be subject to the requirement beginning Jan. 1, given that the Pfizer vaccine has full federal approval. If full federal authorization for students 12 and older is not approved before the end of the year, a vaccine requirement for younger students would begin July 1. If it does come before the year’s end, the Jan. 1 date would be applied.

Students ages 11 and younger are still not permitted to receive a vaccine but officials anticipate emergency authorization to be granted in November with full approval expected next spring.

Districts are permitted to adopt vaccine mandates ahead of state action and have been encouraged to do so by various health and state leaders including Tony Thurmond, state superintendent of public instruction. 

Accommodations would have to be in place for students who qualify for medical or personal belief exemptions. The state permits only medical exemptions for other diseases on the list and legislative action would be needed to remove personal or religious exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines. 

Some California school districts have gone beyond the state mandate by requiring vaccinations for students ages 12 and older despite only having emergency approval. Those districts are facing legal challenges but precedent and opinions of legal scholars appear to be in favor of the districts, Deputy County Counsel Lisa Cho said, noting a decision on the matter will likely take a year to produce. 

“It’s really a question of does this district want to get a jump on that process and have a mandate in place a few months before the state ones drop,” Cho said. 

Dr. Jay Spaulding, assistant superintendent of Human Resources, said the district would likely need a month to build up a vaccine tracking system and remote access for students granted exemptions. 

Hsieh was the lone trustee to comment on the potential mandate, noting the district needs to also consider protections for those still ineligible for vaccines. 

“It doesn’t matter if we mandate vaccination before the deadline of the governor. We just want to make sure we provide a safe environment for our students, especially the youngsters,” Hsieh said. “Mandate or no mandate, they just don’t have the opportunity.”  

SMUHSD

Of the high school districts, San Mateo Union High School District is the closest to implementing some form of vaccine mandate ahead of the state’s. On Thursday, district officials will consider whether to formally adopt a vaccine mandate for students who participate in extracurricular activities outside of school hours. Students who do not show proof of vaccination would be required to test weekly, according to the policy to be discussed. 

The policy differs very little from one proposed last month. Trustees decided not to adopt that policy and instead instructed staff to do more research out of concern the mandate was not broad enough and would unfairly identify student vaccination status. 

Instead, the drafted policy further details the guidelines for who would be covered under the requirement and who would oversee compliance. It also points to state guidance for other issues such as monitoring vaccination status of event observers. 

SMCCCD

The San Mateo County Community College District may also adopt a campuswide vaccine mandate for its students and faculty on Wednesday, Oct. 27. The requirement would apply to full-time staff and part-time staff and all students who enter a campus.

“The San Mateo County Community College District is committed to protecting the health and well-being of students, faculty, staff, administrators, and the communities we serve, as well as maintaining higher education access and attainment for our students. As we work toward the safe resumption of increased on-campus learning, working and other activities, we embrace a comprehensive strategy designed to reduce the likelihood of transmission of the COVID-19 virus,” according to the staff report. 

Sequoia

Sequoia Union High School District officials on the other hand have not begun formal conversations around a mandate, opting to prioritize student education instead, board President Alan Sarver said. 

For the nearly two years, school districts have been forced to follow safety protocol set out by the state, pivot to remote instruction, develop safety measures for returning back to campus and develop traditional lesson plans, he noted. 

But district officials recognize the importance of wide student vaccination, Sarver said. The district was one of the first county entities to encourage the state to add the virus to the list of diseases students are required to be vaccinated against to attend classes in person, a move recently adopted by the state. 

Formal talks around an earlier or more aggressive mandate could begin soon but nothing has been officially scheduled, Sarver said. 

“We are aware that there are substantial benefits in being able to guarantee full student vaccinations sooner than the timeline set out by the state and we will look at that,” Sarver said. “But we don’t want to jump that to the head of the queue because it’s time to focus on educating our students.” 

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(5) comments

Terence Y

More reason to yank your kid out of school for home schooling. Or continue on-line learning. What’s the percentage of kids who have actually died from COVID? Negligible. What about those kids who have already had COVID? Natural immunity is much better than the jab, as almost 100 studies have shown. People don’t seem to understand that whether you’re jabbed, or not, you can still catch, and infect others.

RandomCommenter2020

If you are open to scientific evidence and explanations—Vaccinations offer broader and longer lasting immunity over naturally obtained immunity for COVID-19. Natural immunity only offers good immunity for a specific variant of the virus one was infected with and does not dictate immunity for other emerging mutations (variants). If the mutations deviate too much from the prior infection version, the immune response will be very limited since the body cannot recognize the virus, leading to re-infection with the variant. Vaccines target virus characteristics (receptors) that is less likely to mutate, thus offer broader protection against emerging variants, unlike natural immunity. Also vaccines prevent MIS-C in children (some children who are infected but were asymptomatic develop life-threatening organ inflammation several months after the infection is gone), as well as “long COVID” (where various debilitating symptoms persist for months after recovery), which are added benefits of obtaining immunity through vaccinations.

Here’s a good Q&A from Johns Hopkins University (there are many other similar studies and articles by reputable universities and institutions):

https://publichealth.jhu.edu/2021/why-covid-19-vaccines-offer-better-protection-than-infection

Here’s the report validating the above article with actual recent data:

https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s1029-Vaccination-Offers-Higher-Protection.html

Terence Y

RC2020 – thanks for your response. A unique username so please forgive me for saving a few keystrokes. You state that vaccines “offer broader and longer lasting immunity over natural obtained immunity for COVID-19.” That may be the case for true vaccines, but unfortunately, these COVID jabs are not vaccines, just jabs. Due to so many breakthrough infections, the CDC had to change their definition of “vaccine” and “vaccination” because the jab wasn’t cutting the mustard. In addition, the CDC admits, via response to Elizabeth Brehm, that they have zero record of someone who previously had COVID becoming re-infected or transmitting COVID. Just about every single peer reviewed study shows naturally immune COVID folks have immunity that does not wane.

In regards to the jab, the UK recently released a study showing jabbed folks 60 and younger are twice as likely to die as unjabbed folks. CDC confirms more kids will die from the jab than from COVID. A preliminary study shows the jab triggers higher rates of miscarriage. The UK Health Security Agency reports more jabbed folks are dying than unjabbed folks. We have the FDA asking a federal judge to hid Pfizer’s jab data until the year 2076. Again, the CDC admits they have zero record of naturally immune folks transmitting COVID.

Have you read the Biologics License Application (BLA) approval for the jab? Note a number of studies still need to be performed: three studies to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the jab for kids (child guinea pigs), six studies related to issues with taking the drug (adult guinea pigs).

On the preventive/treatment side, what has the CDC done to promote care after infection? Ivermectin and HCQ have been shown to be effective, yet crickets from the CDC and the media in an effort to help people. It’s as if these folks prefer people to suffer.

Scott McVicker

Still caught up in the hysteria. This time affecting your children. They will not rest until they can push this therapy into newborns. Have a look at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zG7XZ2JXZqY&t=698s

Tafhdyd

Mr. McVicker,

So you have a Youtube interview with a right wing Dr. with a different opinion. I see that he also has published articles in the Epoch Times, sort of the Newsmax of print. Florida has cheaper land and cost of living, an anti science governor and Trump lives there. Maybe your should consider the move.

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