Tuesday is the deadline for all teachers and staff in the West Contra Costa Unified School District to show proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The school district is one of the first in the Bay Area to issue a mandate for both teachers and students.
Teachers, staff and volunteers must show proof of vaccination or get a medical or religious exemption. If not, they face termination.
“If educators got the exemption, they’ll be required to be PCR tested weekly and share the results with HR,” United Teachers of Richmond President Marissa Glidden said.
The district will provide the testing.
As for the children, students ages 12 and up must be fully vaccinated by Jan. 3 to continue in-person learning.
In a district struggling with a serious teacher shortage, some wonder if the mandate will prompt even more teachers to leave.
“I actually think it did the opposite,” Glidden said. “I think many of our educators chose to stay teaching in West Contra Costa because of the vaccine mandate. They felt a lot safer knowing that their colleagues were going to be vaccinated.”
Glidden said, of the 1,600 United Teachers of Richmond members, 99% are vaccinated and most supported the new mandate. The district said, as of Dec. 2, 85% of all district staff, including substitutes, have been fully vaccinated.”
The district issued a statement saying, in part, “as the pandemic continues we want our students back for their social and emotional well-being, learning and development and the wonderful experience of our schools. The vaccination mandates are one layer of protection to help ensure everyone’s safety.”