CA superintendent answers questions about mandatory COVID vaccines

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ByKate Larsen KGO logo
Friday, June 25, 2021
CA superintendent answers questions about mandatory COVID vaccines
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California Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, shared his thoughts on the possible requirement of COVID-19 vaccines for teachers.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A Bay Area school district is discussing making COVID vaccines mandatory for all staff. California state superintendent of public instruction, Tony Thurmond, shared his thoughts on the possible requirement while visiting a school in Oakland.

On Thursday, a group of students at Fremont High School spoke to Thurmond, about how the pandemic impacted them.

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"A lot of my family members did lose their jobs as well, so that was something that was harsh on me because I had to hear all their problems and how they suffered and that's what I don't want. So having this vaccine has made me stronger," said Siurave Quintanilla-Vasquez, a junior at Fremont High School.

Thurmond was at Fremont High to visit a vaccine clinic at the school and call for all students 12 and older to get vaccinated.

"We've got a lot of work to do to ensure that all of our students get a vaccine who are eligible to do so, so we can ensure a safe return to in-person instruction," said Thurmond.

But what about teachers?

San Francisco Unified School District told ABC7 they're discussing the possibility of mandatory vaccines for staff. So far, SFUSD says 3,800 staff members, which is almost 40% of the district staff, have voluntarily confirmed they're vaccinated.

Kate Larsen: "Is it possible that all California school staff and eventually students could be required to get a COVID vaccine?"

Tony Thurmond: "Any requirement would have to come from a legislative act. That has not been introduced in our legislature."

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At the state level, Thurmond says there has been no discussion about requiring COVID vaccines in schools, once they're fully approved by the FDA.

Student, Aundrya Ishaq-Carter, is vaccinated herself but is not sure she wants anyone to be forced into getting the shot.

"I would feel good about it, but at the same time if students are not comfortable getting vaccinated, then you can't force them," said Ishaq-Carter.

The vaccine clinic at Fremont High School is open to anyone on Thursdays from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

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