FUSD approves resolution regarding COVID-19 vaccination mandates | News

The Fontana Unified School District Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt a resolution that urges state officials to leave the decision on COVID-19 vaccinations up to individual families and employees.

The five board members approved the resolution during their Dec. 15 meeting.

The resolution states that the board respects the right of families and employees to choose whether or not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The resolution urges the California Department of Public Health to recommend rather than mandate the vaccine for the district’s students and employees.

Back in October, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California would be the first state in the nation to require all students to be vaccinated (or obtain an approved exemption for in-person learning). This requirement would likely go into effect sometime in 2022.

The resolution acknowledges that FUSD has an obligation to comply with state and local laws, and with directives from the Department of Public Health, regarding COVID-19 health and safety requirements for students and staff.

FUSD “understands that should the COVID-19 vaccine requirement become a mandate for students or staff in public schools in California, then it must comply with such a mandate,” the resolution said.

But the district is hoping that such a scenario ultimately does not take place, for these reasons:

• “Fontana Unified School District, and all other California School districts already struggle to find qualified employees for both certificated and classified positions, and the COVID-19 vaccine requirement is likely to create more open jobs; and

• “Fontana Unified School District supports local control and decision making and parental choice to the greatest extent possible under the circumstances; and

• “Fontana Unified School District public schools have operated in person learning safely since reopening in the fall of 2020 without available vaccines for students or COVID-19 vaccination mandates for most of that time,” the resolution states.

Some employees have spoken out at the FUSD meetings, saying they are opposed to Newsom’s plans for a vaccine mandate.

However, the recent emergence of the Omicron variant has raised concerns among health officials throughout the nation.

Marcelino “Mars” Serna, who had been the board president during this past year, acknowledged in a Facebook post that there have been strong opinions about what policies to implement ever since the pandemic began in early 2020.

“There were many pressures associated with governing during this pandemic. Do we re-open schools or not re-open? What mitigation protocols will we be following to keep everyone safe? Are you supporting vaccine mandates or not? There has been and continues to be divisiveness throughout our community and many issues have become extremely polarized,” Serna said.

In a message to the community on Dec. 17, Superintendent Randal Bassett said that FUSD has required masks indoors at all school sites and any other district locations where students are present.

In compliance with the state’s recently updated mask order, which runs through Jan. 15, masks are required indoors at all schools and district locations, regardless of whether students are there.  School is now out of session for winter break until Jan. 11.

“The District will continue to maintain transparent and consistent communication with the community as COVID-19 health and safety protocols continue to evolve,” Bassett said.

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