To date, more than 792,000 people nationwide have died of COVID-19, 4,340 of which are in San Diego County. Within district boundaries, which comprise almost 14 percent of the county’s population, there have been 1,096 deaths or roughly 25 percent of the county’s deaths. While most individuals infected with COVID-19 suffer less severe symptoms, the pandemic has resulted in far reaching impacts to district staff, students, and the community, ranging from sickness, isolation, job loss, and community and school closures. With the increasing impact of the Delta variant and the existing unknowns related to the Omicron variant, now more than ever additional safety protocols need to be considered so students and staff can remain safely in in-person instruction and work.
On October 11, 2021, the board considered the Governor’s September 30, 2021, Executive Order which will require students and staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccination to be able to continue in public school education or employment. At the time, the board directed staff to return with a resolution and a timeline for full mandatory vaccination for the start of the 2022-2023 school year that ensured students have virtual learning opportunities if they are unable to be vaccinated. The board also requested information to consider implementing a vaccination sooner for those students participating in voluntary extracurricular events.
As a reminder, California law requires school children to have 10 other immunizations with the exceptions of medical reasons in order to attend a public and private school. Specifically, as it relates to COVID vaccinations, the September 30, 2021, Executive Order will be implemented by grade groups. Under the Order, those students in grades 7-12 are expected to receive the vaccine starting on July 1, 2022, once the entire age group’s vaccine has received full approval by the FDA. Currently, students age 16 and up have received full approval for vaccinations; the Pfizer vaccine for students age 12-15 has received an emergency use authorization. Full approval is anticipated early in 2022.
The Governor's order supports districts in implementing these mandates even prior to the state's mandate and numerous school districts have begun such implementation. Those districts actions have been allowed to move forward by California and Federal courts, as an appropriate exercise of board’s discretion to keep students and employees safely in schools.
Currently, the district has implemented the August Health Order requiring all staff to present proof of vaccination or test weekly. Currently over eighty five percent (85%) of permanent staff have presented proof of vaccination; just over 400 staff are required to test weekly.
Similarly, all students participating in extracurricular activities have been required to test at least once weekly, as well as submitting proof of vaccination status to assist with contact tracing efforts. Currently, sixty-five percent (65%) of high school student athletes have indicated they are fully vaccinated. This is consistent with aggregated data provided by the County of San Diego on student vaccination status.
As more fully described in the recommended resolution, staff is recommending:
1) Staff and students generally must be fully vaccinated to continue employment or continue in-person instruction by the start of the 2022-2023 school year as scheduled to commence in July 2022. By February 1, 2022, staff must present proof of receiving their first dose, submit required documentation requesting medical accommodations. Similarly, families will be asked to express their intent to vaccinate or participate in virtual instruction by mid-February.
2) Students and staff who wish to continue participating in extracurricular activities will be required to submit proof of vaccination or approved exemption prior to February 5, 2022, when the third season of CIF sports commences.
This item will provide the board an opportunity to discuss COVID-19 related data and protocols, advice from the district’s medical expert, and specifically the impacts of implementing vaccine mandates in advance of the Governor's order and determine whether to take action now to begin the implementation process.
For questions regarding this board item, please contact Jennifer Carbuccia at 619-407-4940 or email@example.com.