West Contra Costa Unified Passes Student COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

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The West Contra Costa Unified School District board voted in favor of a student vaccine mandate during a special meeting Thursday night that showed parents were split on the issue.

Students 12 and older are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with proof of their first shot by Nov. 15 and their second shot by Dec. 15, according to the new resolution.

Students younger than 12 must receive their first shot no later than 30 days after their 12th birthday and their second shot within 60 days of that date.

The resolution also mandates that district staff members and volunteers must show proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status, either complete vaccination or first shot, by Oct. 15 and must receive their second no later than Nov. 15. Final proof of full vaccination for workers is due by Dec. 7.

Out of the 26,000 students in this district, close to half will be affected by the vaccine mandate.

Parents who attended the meeting in person were overwhelmingly against a mandate. Some other parents who participated virtually were in favor of it.

Three proposals were presented during Thursday's meeting.

One proposal was to mandate COVID vaccinations for students 12 and older. Two, to mandate that certain vendors be vaccinated and lastly, to require all employees and volunteers be vaccinated. The latter two proposals were approved.

"It is FDA approved and for emergency approved. All the science says the vaccine is safe even for 12 to 15," said Dr. Chris Hurst, superintendent of the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

Three Bay Area school districts have vaccine mandates, which are Oakland, Hayward and Piedmont.

Earlier this month, West Contra Costa was on the verge of being the first in the Bay Area to require a mandate. But it was put on hold to explore legal and logistical issues.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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