Sonoma County Office of Education

SCOE Statement on Gov. Newsom’s Announcement of Vaccine Mandate for Students

10/01/2021 -

County superintendent has issued the following statement in response to Gov. Newsom’s announcement of future vaccine mandates for kids:

The Sonoma County Office of Education supports vaccination as a means to helping end the pandemic and returning to more normalized instruction. We know mandates are effective and believe they will help our schools avoid unnecessary closures/quarantines.

Sonoma County is well positioned that we already have 71.6 percent fully or partially vaccinated youth age 12-17, thanks to a concerted and collaborative effort between county health, schools, and SCOE over the last five months.

At the same time, we are concerned about the details of this new requirement, which is, as of now, an unfunded mandate. Schools are already dealing with severe staffing shortages and increased COVID-19 requirements that are pushing staff to the edge of their working limits.

We wish to see the state allocate specific, clear guidance and resources, including both funding and staffing, to support schools in instituting this mandate.

Schools will also need support in regards to the impacts of this mandate on independent study. We anticipated that the vaccine mandate could result in many additional families seeking independent study as an alternative to vaccination, and schools are not currently equipped to handle such an influx.

We look forward to working with our county and state partners in the continuing effort to keep our schools safe and open for in-person instruction.