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California first state to require all teachers, school staff to get vaccinated or tested weekly

"Vaccinations are how we will end this pandemic,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom said in announcing the sweeping policy.
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All public school teachers and staff in California must be vaccinated before returning to campus, or submit to weekly testing for Covid-19, state authorities said Wednesday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the sweeping policy, sayingit's the only way for in-person education to return safely in the fall.

"To give parents confidence that their children are safe as schools return to full, in-person learning, we are urging all school staff to get vaccinated. Vaccinations are how we will end this pandemic,” Newsom said in a statement.

“As a father, I look forward to the start of the school year and seeing all California kids back in the classroom.”

The new policy takes effect Thursday.

Dorene Scala teaches third grade during summer school at Hooper Avenue School on June 23, 2021 in Los Angeles.
Dorene Scala teaches third grade during summer school at Hooper Avenue School on June 23, 2021 in Los Angeles.Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images file

“There’s no substitute for in-person instruction, and California will continue to lead the nation in keeping students and staff safe while ensuring fully open classrooms,” said Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, the state's top public health officer.

“Today’s order will help the state’s continued efforts to increase vaccinations, similar to the orders encouraging state and health care workers and businesses to get vaccinated.”

Newsom's action comes amid a recall effort that's slated for the ballot box Sept. 14.

Wednesday's order could pose some political risk to Newsom, but the state has generally embraced vaccinations as 53.7 percent of Golden State residents have been fully inoculated, according to a rolling count by NBC News.

That compares relatively well to other large states such as Texas (44.6 percent), New York (57.9), Florida (49.7) and Pennsylvania (53.1), Illinois (49.2), Ohio (47.0) and New Jersey (59.2).

This is a developing story, please refresh here for updates.