Statement from CSBA President Dr. Susan Heredia on California's new vaccine mandate for eligible students
“The California Schools Boards Association welcomes the state’s decision to use its longstanding legal authority to add COVID-19 inoculations to the vaccine requirements. CSBA endorses approaches to COVID-19 mitigation that are supported by data and science and that maximize the safety of students and staff — principles that are reflected in the new mandate,” said CSBA President Dr. Susan Heredia. “The patchwork of different methods for COVID-19 mitigation at the local level was not the most effective approach for this particular crisis. California requires a more comprehensive strategy that frees local school boards from the need to act as de facto public health officials. Those decisions are better left to people at the state level who are designated to perform public health functions. In addition, a statewide standard for student vaccinations may help defuse some of the unlawful behavior directed at school board trustees by those who oppose local mandates.”
CSBA President Dr. Susan Heredia
Clarification of CSBA’s Statement on California’s Pending Vaccine Requirements
- On October 1, 2021, CSBA issued the above statement responding to the Governor’s call for a student vaccine requirement that was rooted in existing California law, specifically SB 277 which took effect on January 1, 2016.
- SB 277 requires the option of a personal belief exemption when, through the administrative or regulatory rulemaking process, a new vaccine is added to the list of inoculations required prior to school enrollment.
- The personal belief exemption provided for in SB 277 is singular and incorporates religious, philosophical, and personal beliefs all in one exemption.
- Health and Safety Code section 120335 states that, “any disease deemed appropriate by the department” can get added to the list via the regulatory process. Section 120338 states if the Department adds a disease, then exemptions for both medical and personal beliefs must be “allowed.”
- The personal belief exemption provision in SB 277 can only be circumvented by legislative action, and not by administrative action taken by the California Department of Public Health Care Services.
- CSBA’s statement about the pending student vaccination requirement reflected the language of SB 277, which specifies that the personal belief exemption be allowed, along with the existing medical exemption, for any inoculation added to the list of vaccines required as a condition for school enrollment.
CSBA is a nonprofit association representing nearly 1,000 PreK-12 school districts
and county offices of education throughout California.