Public Universities and community colleges across California have mandated COVID vaccines for staff and students in order to attend or teach classes. In August, the California Department of Public Health issued a public health order requiring all school staff to either show proof of full vaccination or be tested at least once per week.
“To give parents confidence that their children are safe as schools return to full, in-person learning, we are urging all school staff to get vaccinated. Vaccinations are how we will end this pandemic,” said Governor Newsom.
Notably, a state-by-state look at colleges requiring COVID-19 vaccines shows a rather distinct line in the sand. The complete list of higher education institutions mandating vaccination for the fall 2021-22 semester appears to break along political lines rather than health and safety lines:
ARIZONA: Dine College, Prescott College
CALIFORNIA: Allen Hancock College, American Jewish University, American River College, Berkeley City College, Cabrillo College, California College of the Arts, California Institute of Integral Studies, California Institute of Technology, California Jazz Conservatory, California Lutheran University, California State University (Bakersfield, Channel Islands, Chico, Dominguez, East Bay, Fresno, Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Maritime Academy, Monterey Bay, Northridge, Polytechnic University at Pomona, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Joaquin Delta College, San Luis Obispo, San Marcos, Stanislaus), Cerro Coso College, Chabot College, Chapman University, Claremont McKenna College, Claremont Graduate University, Coast Community College District (Coastline, Golden West and Orange Coast), Coastline College, College of Alameda, College of the Redwoods, Cosumnes River College, Cypress College, De Anza College, Delta College, Folsom Lake College, Foothill College, Fresno Pacific University, Fullerton College, Golden Gage University, Golden West College, Harvey Mudd College, Holy Names University, Humboldt State University, Laney College, La Sierra University, Los Angeles Community College District, Los Rios Community College District, Loyola Marymount University, Menlo College, Merritt College, MiraCosta College, Moreno Valley College, Norco College, North Orange County Community College District (Cypress, Fullerton, North Orange Continuing Education), Occidental College, Orange Coast College, Otis College of Art and Design, Pepperdine University, Pitzer College, Pomona College, Porterville College, Riverside City College, Samuel Merritt University, Sacramento City College, San Diego Community College District, San Diego State University, Santa Barbara City College, Santa Clara University, Santa Rosa Junior College, Scripps College, Southern California Institute of Architecture, Southwestern College, Stanford University, State Center Community College District, University of California system (Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz), University of the Pacific, University of La Verne, University of San Diego, University of Southern California, Whitter College
FLORIDA: University of Miami (employees only)
IOWA: Grinnell College, Highline College
TEXAS: Paul Quinn College, Rice University, Southwestern University, St. Edward’s University
Washington State, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, have lists as long as California’s. You can see then entire list of colleges and universities by state at the University Business website.
The Globe has been contacted by staff members at Los Rios Community College and Sacramento City Unified School District opposed to the new mandates. Many students and staff are planning a protest at Los Rios on September 30 over the mandates. Employees call it an abuse of power and are working with attorneys, planning to file a class-action lawsuit, CBS Sacramento reported.
Other states already have class action lawsuits working through the courts. The New Civil Liberties Alliance filed a class-action lawsuit challenging Michigan State University’s vaccine mandate for employees with naturally acquired immunity to COVID-19.
More than 4,000 CSU Sacramento students who have not self-certified that they are vaccinated, received a letter saying they won’t be allowed on campus unless they prove their vaccination status, or legal exemption, CBS Sacramento reported.
In August, the Los Rios Community College District Board of Trustees voted to require COVID-19 vaccinations of all students and teachers, and offered a cash incentive of $100 to students for taking the vaccine. And if students take the second vaccine, they receive another $100.
“So, for all our students who are hesitant, there’s a really good incentive to go out and get that first shot and then follow up and get the second shot as well,” Brian King, Chancellor of Los Rios said, CBS10 reported. “The recognition that the Delta variant is having such a dramatic impact on our public health, our board decided on August 3rd to establish a requirement that all of our students and staff to have at least their first shot by October 1.”
The Los Rios Community College District offered no other options.
This week the Sacramento City Teachers Association labor union presented a proposal to the Sacramento City Unified School District that includes mandatory vaccinations for all district students and staff, and mandatory weekly Covid testing for all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status.
“Despite limited Covid testing, SCUSD has reported an average of 19 new Covid cases every school day since classes began September 2,” the SCTA said.
In addition to mandatory vaccination and testing, “the SCTA proposal would require the district to follow health and safety recommendations from the state and county health departments and the California Department of Occupational Health and Safety. SCTA’s proposal requires recommendations from the state and county to be disclosed.”
Interestingly, the SCTA noted that the district has 200 vacancies among certificated teachers, “and since classes began on September 2, this has left an average of 39 classes a day (with approximately 1170 students) without either a regular or substitute teacher in the classroom.”
The SCTA proposal explains the mandate in detail:
The All District staff and students shall be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID by January 1, 2022, except those staff or students who have a medical exemption that keeps them from being vaccinated.
Prior to January 1, 2022, and pursuant to Governor Newsom’s August 11, 2021 Executive Order on vaccinations for school employees, staff must show proof of vaccination, or be subject to regular testing. Bargaining unit members will be required to provide proof of vaccination to the District by August 30, 2021. Bargaining unit members may submit proof of vaccination by going to the District’s vaccine portal at https://www.scusd.edu/vaccinations. Bargaining unit members who are vaccinated after August 30, 2021, may request to present vaccination proof at a later date through the District’s vaccination portal.
“There is currently no testing option, and no consideration has been given to natural immunity,” one of the Los Rios protesters told the Globe. “The District has made it very clear that staff and students who have not received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by October 1st, will be subjected to a disciplinary process. Students will “not be allowed access to District facilities,” and staff members will “probably be terminated,” to paraphrase their official statements.”
Here is the flyer announcing the Los Rios protest:Los Rios flyer
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