CULVER CITY, Calif. -- As Culver City Unified School District heads back to school on Thursday morning, the district is issuing a COVID vaccine requirement for all eligible students and staff -- a mandate that is believed to be the first of its kind in California.
With the fall semester getting underway, schools statewide are requiring masks in the classroom amid growing concerns about the highly contagious delta variant.
Culver City is taking health requirements a step further, requiring proof of vaccination for all students ages 12 and older by Nov. 19. The deadline has been set for three months from now in order to "give everyone the opportunity to make their vaccine plans," the district said in a statement, adding, "We will begin gathering vaccine status data immediately."
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Meanwhile, at a Long Beach Unified School District board meeting on Wednesday night, impassioned parents and students spoke out about the mask mandate and COVID-19 protocols in that district.
"Not being able to see my friends' smile at school has made me sad," a young girl told board members, wearing a mask as her voice choked with emotion. "It's also very hard to hear my teachers sometimes."
Also during the public comment section, a man took to the podium to say: "Masks don't work. The mask that I'm wearing does not do anything."
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A woman added: "If you make masks or vaccines mandatory, we're out. You're not going to get funding. And I'm not the only parent -- you can hear them all. We are united."
Some of what the Long Beach school board heard during the meeting is considered misinformation, even conspiracy theory about the coronavirus.
Masks are required for students in the Long Beach Unified School District, whose school year begins Aug. 31. And while students and staff are required to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide weekly test results, there is no announced plan to require shots for students.
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Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California would become the first state in the nation to require all teachers and school staff to get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
The policy applies to both public and private schools and will affect more than 800,000 employees, including about 320,000 public school teachers and a host of support staff such as cafeteria workers and cleaners, the state Department of Public Health said. It will also apply to school volunteers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.