The Push for Vaccine Mandates is Growing, But Teachers Still Get a Pass

The latest surge in coronavirus cases coupled with the full reopening of schools has put teacher vaccinations in the spotlight. Even as the state and local governments mandate vaccines for all sorts of high-risk workers, vaccine-hesitant educators have been given a pass.

The California Teachers Association is vocally supporting vaccinations but it has not embraced an actual mandate, so most lawmakers won’t touch the issue. It’s a different story for the American Federation of Teachers, however. AFT President Randi Weingarten came out in support of teacher vaccination requirements over the weekend.

“The circumstances have changed,” said Weingarten on Meet the Press. “It weighs really heavily on me that kids under 12 can't get vaccinated." 

Approaches differ at the local level. Los Angeles Unified, San Diego Unified, and San Jose Unified are requiring either proof of vaccination or weekly testing for teachers. San Francisco Unified has no such rule, even though its overwhelming concerns about public health ostensibly kept classrooms closed for nearly 18 months.

Read more about the ongoing debate over teacher vaccinations at CalMatters.

Update: On Tuesday, San Francisco Unified announced teachers would have to show proof of vaccination or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.