AP (NEW)

California won’t require COVID vaccine to attend schools

Feb 3, 2023, 5:22 PM | Updated: 6:40 pm

FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccinati...

FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccination center on Feb. 11, 2021. (Photo by Matic Zorman/Getty Images)

(Photo by Matic Zorman/Getty Images)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Children in California won’t have to get the coronavirus vaccine to attend schools, state public health officials confirmed Friday, ending one of the last major restrictions of the pandemic in the nation’s most populous state.

Gov. Gavin Newsom first announced the policy in 2021, saying it would eventually apply to all of California’s 6.7 million public and private schoolchildren.

But since then, the crisis first caused by a mysterious virus in late 2019 has mostly receded from public consciousness. COVID-19 is still widespread, but the availability of multiple vaccines has lessened the viruses’ effects for many — offering relief to what had been an overwhelmed public health system.

Nearly all of the pandemic restrictions put in place by Newsom have been lifted, and he won’t be able to issue any new ones after Feb. 28 when the state’s coronavirus emergency declaration officially ends.

One of the last remaining questions was what would happen to the state’s vaccine mandate for schoolchildren, a policy that came from the California Department of Public Health and was not impacted by the lifting of the emergency declaration.

Friday, the Department of Public Health confirmed it was backing off its original plan.

“CDPH is not currently exploring emergency rulemaking to add COVID-19 to the list of required school vaccinations, but we continue to strongly recommend COVID-19 immunization for students and staff to keep everyone safer in the classroom,” the department said in a statement. “Any changes to required K-12 immunizations are properly addressed through the legislative process.”

The announcement was welcome news for Jonathan Zachreson, a father of three who lives in Roseville. Zachreson founded the group Reopen California Schools to oppose many of the state’s coronavirus policies. His activism led to him being elected to the Roseville City School District board in November.

“This is long overdue. … A lot of families have been stressed from this decision and worried about it for quite some time,” he said. “I wish CDPH would make a bigger statement publicly or Newsom would make a public statement … to let families know and school districts know that this is no longer going to be an issue for them.”

Representatives for Newsom did not respond to an email requesting comment.

California has had lots of influence over the country’s pandemic policies. It was the first state to issue a statewide stay-at-home order — and other states were swift to follow.

But most states did not follow California’s lead when it came to the vaccine mandate for public schools. Officials in Louisiana announced a similar mandate, but later backed off. Schools in the District of Columbia plan to require the COVID-19 vaccine starting in the fall.

Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin Kiley, a former member of the state Assembly who challenged Newsom in a failed recall attempt in 2021 over his pandemic policies, published a blog post declaring: “We won. To Gavin Newsom: You lost.”

Kevin Gordon, a lobbyist representing most of the state’s school districts, said he did not think the policy change was the result of political pressure by Republicans, but instead a reflection of the virus’s slowing transmission rates.

“The public’s appetite for these kinds of mandates is definitely not what it used to be,” he said. “If you started to now impose a heavy mandate when the amount of transmission is significantly lower than it was statewide, a one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t work right now.”

KSL 5 TV Live

AP (New)

iron prison bars...

Associated Press

Convicted sex offender who hacked jumbotron at Jacksonville Jaguars’ stadium gets 220 years

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A convicted child molester has been sentenced to 220 years in federal prison for producing child sexual abuse material and hacking the jumbotron at the Jacksonville Jaguars stadium after the team learned he was a registered sex offender and fired him. A federal judge in Jacksonville sentenced 53-year-old Samuel Arthur Thompson, […]

2 months ago

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., faces reporters at the Capitol, Nov. 30, 2023, in Washington. A Texas m...

Associated Press

Former US Rep. George Santos, expelled from Congress, says he is running again

Former U.S. Rep. George Santos, who was expelled from Congress in December and faces federal charges of defrauding donors to his 2022 campaign, has announced he is running for the House again.

2 months ago

FILE - Kristlyn Wood, a cousin of 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham, reacts during a vigil in Cunningha...

Associated Press

Family, advocates want solution to legal loophole after killing of 11-year-old Texas girl

As mourners prepare for the funeral of 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham, who was killed near Houston, the community wants answers about how the suspect in her death was allowed to remain free despite a long criminal history of violence.

3 months ago

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018 photo, containers holding frozen embryos and sperm are stored ...

Associated Press

Facing backlash over IVF ruling, Alabama lawmakers look for a fix

Lawmakers began scrambling for ways to protect Alabama in vitro fertilization services after multiple providers paused services in the wake of a state Supreme Court ruling that frozen embryos could be considered children under a state law.

3 months ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump during a campaign stop in Rochester...

Associated Press

UK judge dismisses Trump’s lawsuit over dossier containing ‘shocking and scandalous claims’

A judge in London on Thursday threw out a lawsuit by former U.S. President Donald Trump accusing a former British spy of making “shocking and scandalous claims” that were false and harmed his reputation.

4 months ago

FILE - The FBI arrested three Florida residents on Saturday, the third anniversary of their alleged...

Associated Press

FBI arrests 3 in Florida on charges of assaulting officers in Jan. 6 insurrection

The FBI arrested three Florida residents on Saturday, the third anniversary of their alleged attack on Capitol police officers during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.

5 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

California won’t require COVID vaccine to attend schools