Governor Newsom announced Oct. 1 that California has become the first state in the nation to add COVID-19 vaccination to the list of required school vaccinations for students. Below are a few key facts about the Governor’s announcement, along with news of an update to Fresno County Department of Public Health’s (FCDPH) contact tracing for schools.
Governor’s New Vaccination Requirements
At a press conference Oct. 1, Governor Newsom announced he has directed the California Department of Public Health to add COVID-19 vaccination to mandatory school vaccine requirements for in-person school attendance at public, private and charter schools.
- The requirements do not have a specific implementation date but become effective at the start of the school term (we do not yet know if this means the semester, quarter or the start of the next school year) following full FDA approval of a COVID-19 vaccine for students. These requirements would be implemented first for grades 7-12 and then for K-6 according to the Governor’s announcement.
- Because these new requirements are being implemented through regulation and not through legislation, they must also include options for medical and personal exemptions. Exactly what those exemptions will include or how schools will be allowed to implement them is not yet clear.
- It is not the intention of our administration to seek early implementation, as also authorized by the Governor given that doing so, in addition to other challenges, would precede full FDA approval of vaccines. Click here to learn more about the Governor’s announcement
New Contact Tracing Protocols Implemented in Fresno County
Also Oct. 1, the Fresno County Department of Public Health announced new contact tracing parameters for schools effective immediately. Their announcement is based on data collected from schools around the county that found few instances of students quarantined out of school through classroom contact tracing who later tested positive. You can read their updated guidance online at https://www.cusd.com/StudentStaffHealth.aspx.
- This change was first authorized by the California Department of Public Health and now allows schools in Fresno County to defer contact tracing for students in the first instance of a positive case in a classroom or co-curricular program so long as all students were masked and remain asymptomatic.
- It is not unless a second case is reported within two weeks, one that cannot be traced to a source outside of school, that contact tracing and quarantine procedures would come into effect.
- Once contact tracing quarantine requirements come into effect, all existing contact tracing rules now in use would be followed. To learn more about contact tracing requirements and other health and safety measures in place in our schools visit https://www.cusd.com/2021-22SchoolYear.aspx.
We recognize parents may have additional questions about these new announcements from state and county officials. As we dive more deeply into their details, we will post updates in the FAQ (frequently asked questions and answers section) of our online COVID-19 health and safety information portal at https://www.cusd.com/2021-22SchoolYear.aspx.