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Sacramento teachers union proposes mandatory COVID vaccinations and testing for students and staff

Sac City teachers wrote that all eligible district staff and students should be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 1, 2022, excluding those with medical exemptions.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) proposed that the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for all eligible students and staff.

In the proposal, the SCTA wrote that all district staff and students should be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 1, 2022, excluding those with medical exemptions.

“The health and safety of students and staff and ensuring that our students have teachers in the classroom should be our top priorities,” said second-grade teacher and the president of the SCTA, David Fisher in a statement. “SCTA’s  comprehensive proposals would help the district achieve these goals.”

According to a press release, SCTA also proposed that weekly testing be required for all students and staff regardless of vaccination status.

The SCUSD reopening dashboard reports that there were 32 student cases and 29 staff cases in the month of August. This is compared to 185 student cases and 38 staff cases so far in the month of September. 

Superintendent Jorge Aguilar told ABC10 that mandated vaccinations was a topic at recent Board of Education meeting. It's expected to be brought back over the next couple of weeks.

“We know that vaccinations are an important step to mitigate of course the spread of COVID. We know that there are lot of challenges that we are facing because of COVID, but we also have to discuss the considerations that we have to face in Sac City...," Aguilar said.

He continued on to say that some of the consideration include plans for exemptions, impacts to the district budget if families were to disenroll, and staffing for vaccination clinics.

“This is not an area that we have been trained for. It’s not an area that we have deep knowledge about, which is why rely on a lot of consultation with experts in the field, and we will continue to do that. We understand that almost anything we do related to this issue will certainly have a spectrum of both support and opposition...," Aguilar said.

Another issue district teachers addressed in their proposal is a staffing shortage of substitute teachers, which is going on statewide.

The SCTA proposal would require the district to notify parents when their student's class doesn't have a regular teacher or a substitute. The district does not currently disclose this information, according to SCTA.

“Sac City teachers have been going above and beyond in their efforts to educate our students,” Fisher said in a statement. “Our district is in crisis. Superintendent Aguilar and the SCUSD have a go-it-alone attitude that is failing to address student needs. Teachers can do even more to help get the district on the right path if the district will work with us."

Other school districts including the Elk Grove Unified School District and San Juan Unified School District, have raised the price of a substitute to $160 and $175, respectively.

According to SCTA, the SCUSD school board has "demanded unprecedented givebacks from employees, including cuts that would reduce the average teachers' take-home pay by $750 per month."

In the proposal, Sac City teachers recommend delaying the remainder of negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement until the spring to address the current situation.


Schools are underway, but challenges continue for students

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