On October 1, 2021, the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom announced that following full FDA approval of the COVID-19 vaccine for their grade span (7-12 and K-6), California students will be required to be vaccinated in order to continue attending in-person learning.
The vast majority of school districts report that over 95% of their students have returned to in-person instruction this school year. The Office of the Governor noted that "California is leading national trends in preventing school closures and keeping kids in classrooms, accounting for only 14 out of over 2,000 school closures nationwide, or roughly 0.7% – despite the fact that California educates an estimated 12% of the nation's public school students. If California's rates had aligned with national trends, the state would have seen upwards of 240 school closures."
Under the Governor's vaccine mandate, the COVID-19 vaccine will join the list of vaccines already required for school attendance, including measles, mumps, and rubella. But unlike the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccinations, a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for school-aged children has become a hotly-contested issue for many California parents.
The Governor's vaccine mandate will take effect at the start of the term following full approval of the applicable grade span, to be defined as January 1st or July 1st, whichever comes first.
Grade Span - Age Group
7th-12th grade = 12+ years old
K - 6th grade = 5-11 years old
Students who are under the age of full approval, but within the grade span, will be required to be vaccinated once they reach the age of full approval.
As of now, it appears that the vaccine mandate will go into effect for students in grades 7-12 starting on July 1, 2022.