More than half of the staff at charter schools and school districts in the northern state had been vaccinated against COVID-19 as of October 12, three days before California required that all staff in schools be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.
That 56% of school staff, including teachers, have received the COVID-19 vaccine is the latest data provided by Shasta County School Superintendent Judy Flores.
In the North, the state’s mandate has sparked controversy and sparked demonstrations every Monday outside schools. The first protest on October 18 was part of a coordinated national strike.
One of the districts with the highest vaccination rates is the Siskiyou Union High School District, where 90% of employees report being fully vaccinated. At Montgomery Creek School, one of the smaller universities in Shasta County, teachers have embraced participation in the vaccine as well.
Michael Wharton, the principal of Montgomery Creek, said most staff at his small school receive the vaccination.
“Our employees represent a wide range of values and opinions as do the students at Montgomery Creek School and members of our community,” he wrote in an email. “We all value each other, and our diversity, tremendously! Our school community is a celebration of that diversity.”
Elsewhere, in the northern state, results are mixed. Two of the schools with the lowest vaccinations are Junction Elementary School in Palo Cedro and Scott Valley Unified with Southwest Yreka Schools. The participation rate in both regions was less than 45%.
In August, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that teachers must either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or a weekly test for teaching in schools. Later, in October, Newsom announced that students 12 years of age or older must also be vaccinated by July 2022 to attend school in person. Once the FDA approves the vaccine for ages 5 to 11, children in those age groups will also be required to be vaccinated.
On Tuesday, an expert panel from the Food and Drug Administration recommended that children ages 5 to 11 receive the COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech.
Those who oppose Newsom’s policies have staged protests and continue to stand against his decisions, saying that they should have the choice of vaccination and that parents should make the decision to vaccinate their children, not the government.
To keep community members informed about the state of schools during COVID-19, Record Searchlight has contacted Shasta County school districts, and several Siskiyou, to ask what percentage of staff have been vaccinated.
Of the 25 Shasta counties, 10 have responded as of Tuesday. Of the seven districts contacted in Siskiyou, only four responded.
Ten school districts in Shasta County
- French Elementary in Gulch Whiskeytown: The school has less than 10 teachers. For this reason, giving any percentage would risk identifying each one of them, superintendent Moira Casey said.
- Melville Elementary: Supervisor Mindy DeSantis directed the request to the county office of education for a county-level number that includes her district.
- Unified portal: The school cited reasons of confidentiality and did not disclose the number of staff vaccinated.
- Anderson Union: About 52% of 189 employees are vaccinated.
- Columbia Elementary School: About 51% of 125 employees are vaccinated, according to Director Clay Ross.
- Primary Institution: About 70% of teachers are vaccinated, according to Director Heather Armelino. EESD is the county’s largest elementary district, serving 3,680 students, according to the California Department of Education.
- Fall River Joint Consolidated: About 70% of 190 employees have been vaccinated, according to Director Merrill Grant.
- Elementary Junction: About 43% of 18 employees have been vaccinated, according to Director Clay Ross.
- Mountain Union: Superintendent Wharton said Montgomery Creek School employs about 20 staff. The majority of employees are vaccinated.
- Shasta Federation: About 70% of certified personnel, including teachers, consultants and administrators, are vaccinated. Only 50% of classified employees – bus drivers, guardians, office workers – are vaccinated. SUHSD is the county’s largest high school district, serving 5,471 students, according to the CDE.
Four school districts in Siskiyou مقاطعة
- Densmere High School: About 70% of 20 employees are vaccinated, according to Director Ray Keeler.
- Scott Valley Consolidated: About 44% of 159 employees have been vaccinated. About 43% have not been vaccinated and about 13% have contracted COVID-19 in the last 90 days and are exempt, according to supervisor Micheline Meglis.
- Siskiyou Federation: About 90% of 60 employees are vaccinated, according to Director Mike Matheson. This area includes Weed High School and Mount Shasta High School.
- Willow Creek Elementary School: About 50% of employees have been vaccinated, according to Alyssa Ladd, an administrative assistant.
No district reported any difficulties with school staff compliance with COVID-19 testing.
Nada Attia he is Report for America Board member and education reporter focusing on childhood trauma and the achievement gap at Redding Record Searchlight. Follow her on Twitter at Tweet embed. Help the local press thrive Subscribe today! And if you are able, please consider a A tax-free gift towards her business.