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State mandates school staff to be vaccinated

Unvaccinated teachers can be tested weekly

The Wasco Union Elementary School District Board has approved a new policy after the governor declared school staff must be vaccinated by Oct. 15.

Superintendent Kelly Richers received unanimous board support for adding the policy.

Richers said that Gov. Gavin Newsom's health order states all school staff must be vaccinated by Oct. 15 or be tested weekly. There are some exceptions that are allowed; however, other than religion, there are only very few specified exceptions.

The policy put in place by the school district specifies what will happen if an employee does not follow the State Health Order. This includes one week to get tested after a missed test, use of necessity leave if desired, then administrative leave without pay or benefits for up to 60 days. If the health order is not followed by that time the employee would be dismissed.

"If we don't do anything about this, then we could end up no longer being a district," Richers said. "We are doing something about this new health order, on the advice of our legal advisors, by making it a new district policy."

Three people addressed the board, declaring their dislike for the policy. Their concerns were also about the impact the policy would have on the mandates expected to come in January or June that will eliminate the testing alternative.


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