Teachers and school staff in California must either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested for the virus weekly, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday. Several school districts in the state already had similar requirements, but California is the first state to issue a statewide order, CBS Los Angeles reports. Newsom announced the policy at an Oakland school where students had already returned from summer break. "We think this is the right thing to do and we think this is a sustainable way to keeping our schools open and to address the number one anxiety that parents like myself have for young children," he said, per NPR.
The state's two largest teachers unions, the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers, said they fully supported the move, the AP reports. Newsom said the policy would apply to all school workers, including "credentialed staff, parent educators, custodial staff, bus drivers—folks that are critical to supporting the entire school ecosystem." A mask mandate for students and teachers in indoor classrooms is already in place. Earlier Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted 13-0 to have city attorneys prepare an ordinance requiring proof of vaccination for admission to indoor public spaces including restaurants, gyms, and retail establishments, Deadline reports (Read more California stories.)