AUSD Supports Governor

State of California Gov. Gavin Newsom
State of California

AUSD Supports Governor

Sun Staff Reports

“Over the last week or so, it has become increasingly clear that school districts have the legal right to man¬date vaccines among staff and that it is the best practice for operating schools safely.” AUSD Superintandant Pasquale Scuderi

Officials with the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) issued a joint statement expressing their strong support for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement of a statewide vaccine mandate for school employees.

The order calls for all school employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly for infection. The new order went into effect last Thursday, Aug. 12.

At its public meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 10, AUSD Board of Education directed staff to create a plan to call for mandating vaccinations for employees.

“Over the last week or so, it has become increasingly clear that school districts have the legal right to mandate vaccines among staff and that it is the best practice for operating schools safely,” says Superintendent Pasquale Scuderi. “Our staff began discussing the logistics of such a mandate last week, and we are ready to move forward on this initiative.”

The joint statement reads in part:

“As AUSD leaders, we support and appreciate this leadership by Governor Newsom. Scientific evidence shows that vaccines work, they are safe, and they are the most effective strategy available to reducing the risks posed by COVID-19.

“As such, we believe this order — in combination with our other protective measures, such as masking, handwashing, and improved ventilation — will help us protect our students, our staff, our families and the community at large as we open our schools this month.

“We also know this new public health order will help us stabilize our work force during the pandemic, as vaccination status has a strong bearing on if and for how long employees need to quarantine in the cases of exposure to a positive case. We strongly encourage our employees to get vaccinated and will provide weekly testing for those who do not.

“As management and labor leaders, we are united in this effort and pledge to work together collaboratively to analyze the new order and determine how best to implement it. Our intention is to educate and support our employees as we comply with this new public health direction.

“We know employees and families will have questions about this order, and we promise to share more information as we receive more details.”

Officials also stated that Newsom’s announcement comes at a time when the Delta variant is causing a surge in COVID-19 cases across the state. According to public health data, unvaccinated people, in particular, are vulnerable to severe illness from the Delta variant.

Currently COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for people ages 12 and up, but not authorized for children younger than that. The governor’s order allows employees to provide proof of vaccination several ways, including by presenting the physical vaccination card, the digital vaccination card, or a healthcare provider’s verification. Information about the vaccine mandate will be sent to employees as AUSD receives more details.

“Reducing transmission of COVID-19 is key to our ability to open safe learning environments this fall and keep them open,” Scuderi said.

“We know that in-person instruction is vital to our students’ academic and emotional well-being. I am grateful to our management and labor leaders for their support of this new approach to employee vaccination and community safety.”