Berkeley, CA–October 7, 2021–The Berkeley Unified School District Board of Education unanimously approved an All-Student Vaccine and Testing Policy at the October 6, 2021 School Board meeting. The new Policy, authored by School Board President Ty Alper and Director Ana Vasudeo, requires that all BUSD students aged 12 or over (other than Berkeley Adult School students) either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 3, 2022 or submit to weekly onsite COVID testing.
“The Board’s decision last night to require either vaccination or weekly COVID testing for students 12 and older is another important step in our community’s shared effort to end this pandemic,” said Superintendent Brent Stephens. The Policy will also require full vaccination or weekly testing for students ages 5 -11 four months from the date the vaccine is authorized under Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA for this age group.
The Policy requires all Berkeley Adult School students be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 3, 2022 as a condition of attending school in person, unless the student has a documented medical or religious exemption. There is no option for weekly testing as a substitute for vaccination in order to attend Berkeley Adult School in person.
The Board’s action follows Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement on Oct. 1, 2021 that eventually all California students will need to be vaccinated in order to attend school for in-person learning. “Our policy provides an on-ramp to the statewide mandate that is coming next year,” said School Board President Ty Alper. “Our goal is to increase vaccinations so that we can protect the health and safety of the community, and keep students in school.”
Recognizing the District’s responsibility to continue to make COVID-19 vaccines available to students and to provide credible public health information about vaccine safety and efficacy, the Policy requires BUSD to develop a COVID-19 vaccination campaign in partnership with the City of Berkeley Public Health Department and community organizations. “We are engaged in formal discussion with city partners about how to work together on a youth-focused COVID-19 Public Health campaign,” said School Board Director Ana Vasudeo. As required in the Policy, the District will work with the City of Berkeley Public Health Department to provide vaccination clinics on and/or near school sites. No student will be deemed ineligible for any activity due to lack of access to the vaccine.
The District will employ the same procedures for evaluating medical or religious exemptions as used for staff policies.
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