SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – Teachers in the Sacramento area are reacting to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement requiring all teachers and school staff to get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
For Ingrid Hutchins, a second grade teacher at Golden Empire Elementary School, the last 18 months of her career have been an adjustment, but she believes the governor’s announcement is a step in the right direction.
“Honestly, it’s been a lot,” Hutchins said. “I’m actually very happy he’s done that. I think it takes a lot of pressure off of the counties, the districts and the unions.”
The feeling is mutual for second and third grade Dyer-Kelly Elementary teacher Krista Bitonti whose first day of school will be Thursday.
“I feel the more people that get vaccinated, the safer we are all to be together,” Bitonti said.
And while most educators within the Sacramento area believe this new policy is a positive move, Bitonti said teachers who choose not to get vaccinated should not be punished.
For teachers within the San Juan Unified School District, they have the option to teach an independent study program for students who do not feel ready to learn in-person full time.
“Everyone should have the opportunity to maintain their career and their job and they can still do so in a distance learning fashion,” Bitonti said.
As the first day of school approaches, both teachers realize not all parents and students are comfortable coming back to school. That’s why they say their number one priority will always be the students’ safety.
“I’m hoping that parents know that we have their safety in the forefront of our mind is where we’re coming up with plans,” Hutching explained.
In a released statement, Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jorge Aguilar said the following:
We are pleased with this announcement which will help ensure a safe approach as we return to in-person learning. This proactive decision by our state to help keep our students and staff protected will be a crucial component in controlling the spread of COVID-19 on school campuses. Once again California is ahead of the curve, and with testing available at every SCUSD campus and strong safety protocols in place, so is Sacramento City Unified.Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jorge A. Aguilar