Teachers face pressure to return even before COVID-19 vaccinations completed

California

The battle over reopening California schools intensified Wednesday when Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Biden administration said campuses can safely reopen without teachers being vaccinated — and unions pushed back, calling for school workers to be immunized as part of any sweeping reopening effort to return students to classrooms.

Echoing the debate, the Southern California chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics called for schools to open immediately, asserting that the harms of keeping children out of school outweigh the risks of reopening. Meanwhile, United Teachers Los Angeles accused officials of playing politics with the lives of its members, students and their families.

The ferment over reopening has become more urgent in the state’s counties as coronavirus infection rates and other health metrics trend in a positive direction — which could soon allow for the reopening of campuses that have been closed since last March in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, among others. Already, 18 counties outside of Southern California are permitted to open elementary campuses under recently adopted state guidelines.

State and federal officials have insisted for some time that campuses for kindergarten through 12th grade students can reopen safely without teachers being vaccinated — and they reiterated that point Wednesday.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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