Oakland school district extends COVID-19 vaccine requirement

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – Oakland Unified School District is giving families more time to meet the COVID-19 vaccine requirement.

Officials say they will start enforcing the vaccine mandate on Jan. 31 – That’s 30 days later than the original deadline.

The school district put the vaccine mandate in place back in September giving families several months before it would take effect on Jan. 1.

School board vice president Sam Davis says it still goes into effect on that date but there is a 30 days grace period before it will be enforced.

But OUSD school board director for District 5, Mike Hutchinson says this change could continue to make things difficult.

He is one of two school board members that voted against the vaccine mandate.

He thinks the district should defer to the state which will likely require kids 12 and older to be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting in the fall of 2022.

Davis says the district is working on reaching out to every single family that doesn’t have vaccine verification.

“It’s been inching up. So we’re at 62% of students 12 and up are vaccinated and some others have also started requesting medical exemption, personal belief exemptions,” Davis said.

That means about 38 percent of students are unvaccinated and haven’t requested any sort of exemptions, which is another concern for Hutchinson.

“We’re potentially looking at thousands of students being forced out of in-person instruction,” Hutchinson said. “We do not have the capacity right now to accommodate thousand more students in our distance learning program.”

Both members of the school board say they believe every family should talk to their doctors about the risk and benefits of the vaccine.

Students need to be vaccinated or apply for an exception before the vaccine mandate enforcement begins on Jan. 31.

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