Culver City Unified School District to require COVID Vaccination.
Can the Superintendent just mandate that?
Earlier this week, Culver City Unified School District’s (CCUSD) Superintendent, Quoc Tran, released a new COVID-19 policy which mandates "vaccines for all eligible staff and students... The deadline for providing the proof of vaccine is Friday, November 19, 2021."
A Voice for Choice Advocacy immediately sent sent the CCUDS Superintendent and Board Members a letter (full text: [link removed] [[link removed]] ) asking them to rescind the policy on legal, scientific and religious/conscious grounds. If this requirement is not fully retracted, AVFCA asked that it is updated in the following three ways:
- Make the COVID-19 vaccine a recommendation, rather than a requirement
- Make personal belief, religious belief, medical and disability exemptions available, without recourse
Per California law, Culver City Unified School District cannot require the COVID-19 vaccine, unless either 1) the legislature passes a law that states it is required for school (per the childhood vaccines requirements for school) or 2) the California Department of Public Health puts out regulations stating such (in which case they would also have to allow a personal belief exemption), neither of which have happened to date. Furthermore, a school district cannot change their enrollment policy without a change in board policy, which would require it to be presented in a public Board of Education meeting and allow for public comment. It also goes against Culver City Unified School District’s Nondiscrimination Statement. Specifically:
California Statute: Per Section 120335 of the CA Health and Safety Code, Culver City Unified School District does not have the jurisdiction to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for K-12 students. This can only be done by the California Public Health Department, who would have to offer a Personal Belief Exemption, or through the passing of a law by the State Legislature and Governor.
Culver City Unified School District’s Board Policy change: “Culver City Supt. Quoc Tran said the student vaccine mandate was issued after safety protocol discussions with the school board, teacher and employee unions and parents — who agreed that the requirement would help protect their schools as much as possible.” ( [link removed] [[link removed]] ). Discussions are not enough to make a change in enrollment policy and add a vaccine requirement. The board must put a proposal for such a policy change on a Board Meeting agenda and allow for discussion and public comment. If passed, the board must also make the details of such a policy change available on their website and the school districts website.
Culver City Unified School District Discrimination Statement: “CCUSD prohibits, at any district school or school activity, unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, and bullying targeted at any student by anyone, based on the student's actual or perceived race, color, ancestry, nationality, national origin, immigration status, ethnic group identification, ethnicity, age, religion, political affiliation, marital status, pregnancy, parental status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or genetic information, or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics or beliefs.” Students may not be getting this vaccine for religious reasons, because of their disability, because of a medical condition, because of genetic information and possibly protected groups listed above.
Emergency Use Authorization and Liability: The vaccine clinical trials endpoints of all three vaccines were to reduce hospitalization and death. They did not analyze for transmission or prevention of infection. The delta variant is now the dominant variant in California. The CDC has made it clear, in recent weeks, that vaccinated persons can transmit the delta variant, and even have as high viral loads as the unvaccinated. At this point, those who are vaccinated have protected themselves against severe COVID or death. Those who have made the choice not to get vaccinated, are no different from those who are vaccinated other than if they get the disease they risk possibly getting sicker than those who are vaccinated who get COVID. It is a personal choice to get vaccinated or not, but the risk of transmitting it to someone else seems to be similar. Requiring the COVID-19 vaccine, especially among children, to reduce transmission of SARS-COV-2 is not the answer.
While COVID-19 vaccines have been granted Emergency Use Authorization for those 12 years and older, they are not likely to get fully approved by the FDA until the end of this year. These vaccines, especially among 12-15 year olds are still in the experimental phase with no large scale data on the safety and efficacy of either vaccine. Under the Federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, all COVID-19 vaccine makers are provided immunity from liability for their products. However, CCUSD and the schools implementing this requirement open themselves up for lawsuits if a student is injured by a required COVID-19 vaccine.
While AVFCA is hopeful that this will educate CCUSD and a retraction will follow, unfortunately other school districts and the state often follow CCUSD’s lead. AVFCA will remain on high alert, especially given the Governor and Legislature's seeming desire to mandate vaccines for everyone.
Action: If you live in or close to Culver City, please email Michelle Ford, from the Vaccine Information Awareness League, on how to take action to stop this mandate: [email protected] [[email protected]?subject=Culver%20City%20USD%20Vaccine%20Mandate%20action]
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