Kern County Superintendent of Schools offers details on walkouts, legal responsibilities on COVID-19 vaccine mandate


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — With parents, students and advocates walking out of school Monday only raises the tension. However, are the local districts responsible?

This is a hot topic and such a touchy issue that most school districts we called wouldn’t even talk with us about it. The ones that did would not go on camera.

Both Rosedale Union School District and Kern High School District saw about 20% increase in absences while Norris School District saw about 26% increase in absences. Over 30 teachers in the Norris School District were absent.

The facts about the COVID vaccine mandate are different from the fears families and teachers voiced during protests.

“We can start a recall on every elected official not representing us,” Natalie Feinberg a teacher with KHSD said.

The recall threats, the walkout and frustration directed towards local school board representatives may be misplaced.

According to the Kern County Superintendent of Schools the COVID vaccine mandate is a public health state regulation meaning a school district would have no choice but to follow it. If a district doesn’t, it’s administration could face legal, financial and other risks.

But on the flip side, because it is a public health regulation families can choose to exempt their children from the vaccination. They would need to file a personal belief exemption but this could go away at a later time if Legislature mandates the vaccine.

Now when the vaccine receives full FDA approval the mandate will apply to all California public, private and charter schools where students attend in person.

The mandate is anticipated to go into effect for students in seventh through twelfth grades starting in the 2022 to 2023 school year.

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