OAKLAND, Calif. - Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday announced a new policy that requires all staff at California schools to be fully vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. The new rule is technically not considered a mandate since teachers have an option if they opt not to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
This applies to all school employees in the Golden State including but not limited to teachers, bus drivers, nurses, counselors, secretaries, custodians, and teacher assistants.
"We think this is the safe thing to do and think this is a safe way to keep our schools open," Newsom said during a press conference at Oakland’s Carl B. Munck Elementary School.
In addition, a statewide mandate that requires all students and staff to wear a mask in indoor school settings remains.
This comes as health officials say COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise with millions of California students scheduled to return to school campuses full-time for in-person learning this month. Still, children under the age of 12 remain ineligible for the vaccine.
In Los Angeles County, the number of patients hospitalized with the virus has doubled over the past two weeks.
The Los Angeles Unified School District implemented its own policy in late July ahead of the 2021-22 school year. The district, which is the second-largest in the nation, begins the new academic year Aug. 16.
Earlier Wednesday, the Los Angeles Office of Education announced its staff will be required to be fully vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing starting Sept. 7.
Multiple school districts in the Bay Area also enacted similar policies ahead of the announcement including the Oakland Unified School District, San Francisco Unified School District and the San Jose Unified District.
"We need to come together to protect the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable populations, especially the children under the age of 12 that are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine. Our collaborative efforts will strengthen school communities, prioritize student well-being and transform learning in LA County," Debra Duardo, Los Angeles County Superintendent of School said in a statement.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.
Tune in to FOX 11 Los Angeles for the latest Southern California news.