Newsom recall election candidates respond to vaccine, testing mandate for school employees

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that all school staff must be vaccinated or regularly tested for COVID-19.

“We think this will do exactly what it’s intended to do, and that’s encourage people to get vaccinated,” Newsom said. 

This new mandate follows health orders focusing on state workers and health care workers.

Now, California is the first state in the country to require all teachers and school employees provide proof that they are vaccinated against COVID-19 or get tested for the virus regularly.

“Not just teachers but credentialed staff, para-educators, custodial staff, bus drivers, folks that are critical to supporting the entire school ecosystem also submit a verification of vaccination or submit to weekly testing,” Newsom explained. 

The California Teachers Association expressed support for Newsom’s plan saying about 90% of their educators are already fully vaccinated.

However, some Republican candidates running to replace Newsom in the upcoming recall election reacted negatively to the announcement.

Talk radio host tweeted he would reverse the order if elected.

In a statement, businessman John Cox said in part the governor is a “power-hungry politician who wants to control every aspect of people’s lives.”

Rocklin-area Assemblyman Kevin Kiley accused the governor of using teachers as political pawns.

Robla School District Superintendent Ruben Reyes said the new mandate could help keep schools safer, but he doesn’t see it making a big difference in vaccination rates. According to self-reported data, 80-90% of the district’s staff is already vaccinated.

The North Sacramento district plans to make testing as convenient as possible.

“I think it will just really cause people to solidify what they feel most comfortable doing,” Reyes told FOX40.

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