Governor declares vaccine mandate for 2022-23 school year

This map depicts the number of
school closures due to COVID
cases. According to the California
Governor’s website, “California’s
schools have been open for nearly
a month longer than most other
states, but have experienced
school closures at a far lower rate.
California educates approximately
12 percent of students in the nation,
but California schools account for
approximately 0.5 percent of school closures. And those closures have
been localized to regions with lower
vaccination rates.”

gov.ca.gov

This map depicts the number of school closures due to COVID cases. According to the California Governor’s website, “California’s schools have been open for nearly a month longer than most other states, but have experienced school closures at a far lower rate. California educates approximately 12 percent of students in the nation, but California schools account for approximately 0.5 percent of school closures. And those closures have been localized to regions with lower vaccination rates.”

Adeline McGoldrick ’24 and Delaney Mulqueen ’22, Staff Reporter and Environment Editor

According to a press release published on Oct. 1, Governor Gavin Newsom will begin enforcing a vaccine mandate for all in person middle and high schoolers across California.

The mandate pertains to students 12 and older, and will go into effect anytime from January 1 to July 1, 2022. Any information concerning when students 11 and under will require vaccination is currently unknown, since it’s yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Exceptions include those who cannot get the vaccine for either medical, religious or personal beliefs. Students who simply refuse without proper reasoning will be asked to attend distance learning from home.

“Right now we will only offer online schooling if you do have a COVID situation and if a student or teacher refuses the vaccine I think we have to take it on a case by case basis,” said COVID Coordinator Mark Modeste.

California is the first and only state so far to initiate a vaccine mandate and has since fueled the ongoing debate surrounding COVID-19 protocols throughout the country.

The San Francisco Chronicle also featured an article claiming the Bay Area earned the title for lowest case ratings in the country, which is what the mandate hopes to maintain.

At Riordan, students have varied opinions.

Quinton Bundage ’24 said, “There are families that have sick family members and they have to be safe and they don’t want to bring it back to their households.”

If there is a state mandate, ARHS will comply with all guidelines set by the Department of Public Health.”

— Tim Reardon

There is a common belief that receiving the COVID vaccine is no different than one for the flu or smallpox.

“We already need our vaccines for school so it’s not much difference already and it’s going to keep more people safe and alive so I don’t understand why people don’t want it,” said Victoria Martinez ’24.

But, many concerns remain. Principal and interim President Tim Reardon noted, “The Archbishop is not in favor of mandates for kids, and I agree with him. However, if there is a state mandate, ARHS will comply with all guidelines set by the Department of Public Health.”

Despite the vaccine, the pandemic remains a serious topic, as 70,000 lives have been lost to COVID.