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Sacramento City Unified School District votes on timeline to mandate COVID-19 vaccine

Students who are not vaccinated will have to be regularly tested for COVID-19 starting Nov. 30.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) voted on a timeline to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine to all eligible students and staff for in-person learning. 

School officials citing various medical experts say requiring vaccines for in-person lessons is the number one action they can take to protect students and staff.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Oct. 1 that all eligible students are required to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine mandate applies to students age 12 and up. It will go into effect as early as Jan. 1, 2022, and the quarter following FDA approval. 

SCUSD is moving ahead of that timeline. Students and staff have until Nov. 30 to provide proof that they received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Those unvaccinated with qualified medical and religious exemptions will be required to undergo regular routine testing for the illness depending on public health recommendations. Those who are eligible but unvaccinated will be enrolled in an independent study by Jan. 31 depending on labor agreements.

"We're taking a bold stand to protect public health, but we must do so with our eyes wide open," said Jorge Aguilar, the SCUSD superintendent. 

Aguilar said it's the safe decision but raised concerns the district could see a loss of enrollment and further strain on the district's independent study program.

That's Jennifer Malone's worry. She says she needs to see more data before she allows her McClatchy High School senior to be vaccinated. He's in a specialty program.

"We really wanted to make sure he didn't lose that because we as his parents decided it wasn't the right time for him to get vaccinated," Malone said.  

Parents in support of the resolution argue requiring the vaccine will decrease disruptions and increase confidence in safety.  

SCUSD plans to communicate these deadlines and options to families by Oct. 18. They say the timeline may be adjusted pending FDA emergency use approval for children ages 5-11. 

For more information regarding SCUSD's COVID-19 vaccine policy, click here

WATCH MORE: COVID-19 Vaccine: What you have to do to get a religious exemption and how you can be denied