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COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate: What it Means for Schools vs. Businesses

A vaccine mandate for a school district is a little different than a vaccine mandate for a tech company.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday a vaccine mandate for teachers and staff at all California public and private schools as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

How easy will it be to enforce Gov. Gavin Newsom’s vaccine mandate in schools?

It turns out, a vaccine mandate for a school district is a little different than a vaccine mandate for a tech company.

"For private employees, every employer can mandate health requirements for their workers,” said Richard Alexander, an attorney based in San Jose.

Alexander, who handles a lot of local tech cases told NBC Bay Area that when it comes to public entities like schools, the law is not as cut and dry, even if the mandate affects a lot of people.

President Joe Biden is pushing more companies to require their workers to get fully vaccinated. NBC Bay Area’s Jessica Aguirre spoke with Shellye Archambeau, Fortune 500 board member with longtime Silicon Valley ties, and Business and Tech reporter Scott Budman for their take.

"The public employees have a much higher obligation to ensure their workforce is free of the virus,” he said.

Corporate governance expert Shellye Archambeau said compliance for a school vaccine mandate should not be difficult.

"If it's for the good of public health, they do have the right.” She said. "Companies and states and the federal government. They all have the responsibility to create a safe environment, as a matter of fact, employees are requiring it. They want to come to a place where they'll know they'll be safe when they work."

In fact, the New York Stock Exchange implemented a vaccine mandate on the same day as California schools.

The expectation is they will both be supported.

U.S. Secretary Of Labor Marty Walsh said that he supports Newsom's mandate. He said “it's important that teachers come into the classroom vaccinated to keep themselves and students safe.”

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