In a flip-flop likely to be celebrated with eyerolls by parents across the city, San Francisco Unified School District announced Tuesday that on second thought, they will be requiring mandatory vaccination for teachers and staff.
It seemed odd last week when the school district announced it would not require teachers and staff to be vaccinated, considering that all city employees have to be vaccinated, and come to think of it, isn’t this the same teachers' union that demanded they be vaccinated as a condition of reopening schools? It is. But apparently the union, the school board, and the superintendent came to some sort of realization about the public sentiment (fury that would be directed at them), as Tuesday afternoon, the school district announced a mandatory vaccination requirement for all SFUSD employees.
The district released the news of mandatory teacher vaccinations in a separate release saying, “The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) announced today they will be requiring vaccinations for staff. Starting September 7, all SFUSD employees will be required to be fully vaccinated. Any employee who is not yet vaccinated will be mandated to test for COVID at least weekly.”
The move is similar to one taken several weeks ago by the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Because we love our communities and care for our students, we took the lead on advocating for a vaccine requirement paired with testing. We will return to full in person instruction, welcoming students & families with excitement AND the safest possible conditions in a pandemic. https://t.co/0S9Po8FFq7— UESF (@UESF) August 10, 2021
It’s the teachers' union that caved here, so of course we scrolled straight to see what they had to say in the press release. “Because United Educators of San Francisco love our communities and care for our students, we took the lead on advocating for a vaccine requirement paired with testing in SFUSD,” UESF president Cassondra Curiel said in the statement. “As we all return to school buildings in person, we are glad that we can move forward welcoming students and families with excitement and ensuring the safest conditions possible in the midst of this continuing pandemic.”
Mind you, this is the same union whose spokesperson just last week told the Chronicle, “vaccine mandates with disciplinary measures cannot be imposed as the vaccine does not have FDA approval.”
Also this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that full FDA approval of the vaccines is likely coming within weeks.
The district has roughly 10,000 employees to whom this will apply, and a careful read shows that they’re still leaving the “test for COVID at least weekly” loophole in place. That’s what many employers are doing until the vaccines have full FDA approval, and we’ll hope as many as possible close that loophole.
The requirement will not apply to students, as many of them are 12 and under, and therefore not yet eligible for the shot. The staff for whom the mandate does apply have until August 31 to submit verification of vaccination. Obviously, it would have been nice if this announcement came earlier, considering that in-person instruction starts this Monday, August 16.
American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten: "Since 1850, we've dealt with vaccines in schools. It's not a new thing ... I think that we need to be working with our employers, not opposing them, on vaccine mandates." pic.twitter.com/oT71CCXHoo— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 8, 2021
One could see the dam breaking this weekend when American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten went on Meet the Press and said, “We need to be working with our employers, not opposing them, on vaccine mandates."
You can nitpick that they’re allowing proof of negative tests, or that the full-vaccination deadline is three weeks into the school year. Fair points. But this is going to help momentum nationally, both in schools and workplaces, to see another big city get strict with this shit. Those unions who are vaccine-mandate holdouts are falling like dominoes, likely because union members themselves support the mandate. And this has broader societal implications that it is time to start making life as difficult as possible for those who still have not been vaccinated.
Image: San Francisco Unified School District via Facebook