Yuba County superintendents send letter to governor requesting personal exemptions for student vaccine mandate

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WHEATLAND, Calif. (KTXL) — The Yuba County superintendent of schools and five district superintendents wrote a letter to the governor asking the state to consider personal beliefs when allowing exemptions to the upcoming K-12 COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The letter signed by Yuba County Superintendent of Schools Francisco Reveles and the five district superintendents lists three requests for the governor, one of which includes personal exemptions, along with medical and religious exemptions, for the vaccine mandate.

“In listening to our community, we anticipate the implementation of a vaccination mandate, without an exemption for personal beliefs, will deeply impact schools as families leave for independent study programs or other alternatives to classroom-based instruction,” the letter reads.

“The resulting divisions within some communities are eroding the trust and partnerships that are essential in public schools,” it continues.

The superintendents also request the state give schools benchmarks that can be reached in order to stop requiring mask-wearing in classrooms.

The Placer County Superintendent of Schools Gayle Garbolino-Mojica and 15 superintendents in the county sent a similar letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom but made two additional requests.

Furthermore, the creation and implementation of COVID-19 safety guidelines, including guidelines for masks, quarantines, and the establishment of normal classroom instruction, must be tailored to local conditions. County Public Health Directors should be provided the authority to adjust all CDPH guidance and mandates to fit local conditions.

Finally, California school districts already struggle to find qualified employees for both certificated and classified positions; therefore, we request the option to continue COVID-19 testing in lieu of mandatory vaccination for staff and school employees for the foreseeable future.

Placer County Superintendent of Schools Gayle Garbolino-Mojica

Thursday’s letters come a day after the Wheatland Union High School District Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution to petition the state to change its vaccine requirement for school children and school staff into a recommendation.

In October, Newsom announced the nation’s first COVID-19 vaccine mandate for public and private school students. While children 5 and older are now able to get the shots, the mandate is not expected to take full effect until July 2022.

In their resolution, the board says its schools have been able to conduct in-person learning “safely since reopening in the fall of 2020 without available vaccines or COVID-19 vaccination mandates for most of that time.”

The board also cites concerns parents have had regarding the “lack of research on long-term impacts on children for the COVID-19 vaccine.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the safety monitoring system for the COVID-19 vaccines has been “the most comprehensive and intense … in U.S. history,” and serious health issues stemming from the vaccine are rare. Kaiser Permanente doctors told FOX40 that parents can trust the process because the U.S. has more experience with this vaccine than any other at this stage.

Wheatland Union High School Superintendent Nicole Newman posted about the board’s resolution and the letter in a Facebook post.

“Please know that we are fighting for our families, staff, and students,” Newman wrote. “Our next step is to join with other superintendents in the state to send letters to the Governor and ask the board to pass Resolutions.”

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