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COVID-19 vaccine

WCCUSD pushes vaccine mandate back a month

on December 19, 2021

Students in the West Contra Costa Unified School District have until Feb. 18 to get vaccinated against COVID-19, after the School Board extended the deadline by more than six weeks.

The School Board agreed to push back the deadline last week, as Contra Costa County reported that only about 1 in 4 children under 12 had been fully vaccinated, and fewer than half had received a dose of the vaccine.

Q&A: What WCCUSD parents want to know about the COVID-19 vaccine for young kids

With the more contagious delta variant of the virus raging and the threat of the new omicron variant rising, Contra Costa Health Services labeled the transmission level “substantial,” which is a notch below the highest level. It reported more than 1,400 active cases for the week ending Dec. 18, an increase of more than 4% from the previous two-week period. Hospitalizations were down slightly, to 35 people.

“We thank everyone who has gotten vaccinated and submitted their student’s vaccination card, and we applaud everyone in our community for their effort to vaccinate as many students as possible,” Superintendent Kenneth “Chris” Hurst wrote in a message on the district website.

“While families now have more time, we will continue to operate with a sense of urgency to vaccinate students as soon as possible.”

To encourage parents to vaccinate their children, the district started a raffle. They can win such prizes as laptops or $500 gift cards for uploading their children’s vaccination records.

Administrators are preparing for a sharp increase in students at Vista Virtual Academy after the vaccination deadline. The online K-12 independent study program will have to absorb unvaccinated students who will not be allowed in physical classrooms. That will put a strain on the program’s resources.

The only other options for unvaccinated students are a medical exemption or to unenroll from the district, according to WCCUSD’s vaccine policy. 

WCCUSD put its mandate in place shortly before the state announced that all students eventually will be required to have a vaccine. That requirement will kick in at the start of the school term that follows the federal government’s full approval of the vaccine for a particular grade level.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children be vaccinated against the coronavirus, beginning at age 5. And. the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given emergency authorization for the pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

WCCUSD has partnered with county Health Services to offer vaccine clinics. More information on the district’s site.

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