Santa Barbara Unified School District and State of California announce school vaccine mandates


Caleb Crother

Santa Barbara Middle School begins enforcing vaccine mandates

Kylie Dickinson, Staff Writer

After a unanimous vote, the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) Board of Education came to the decision that all school board members, teachers and staff must receive the COVID-19 vaccination. They began requiring employees to receive their first vaccination by Oct. 1 and their second by Nov. 1. 

According to the district, SBUSD staff are 85.7% vaccinated, but the board’s new resolution hopes to raise these numbers even higher. Despite California consistently recording relatively low COVID-19 cases, the school board has pushed this mandate to ensure the safety of employees and students. 

The district’s decision comes in conjunction with a recent announcement from Gov. Newsom going into effect statewide mandating that the COVID-19 vaccine be added to the list of school-required vaccinations for students. California is the first state to implement this requirement.

In all California schools, vaccination must take place by the upcoming school year with no alternative to be regularly tested for COVID-19. This will take effect once the vaccine is fully FDA approved for grades 7-12 and Kindergarten-6.

After this announcement, Superintendent of Montecito Union School District Anthony Ranii commented, “When the newly proposed regulations go into effect, the option of testing, instead of being vaccinated, will eventually go away.” 

“I can’t speak for anyone else, but I am glad that the decisions about vaccine mandates are being made at the state level. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has the information and expertise to make informed decisions about vaccine mandates,” said Ranii. “A coordinated state-wide approach is required for a state-wide pandemic, and we will implement whatever requirements are set before us to protect our students, staff members and the public.” 

This new requirement may ensure that schools have little to no chance of shutting down or moving online again. According to Newsom’s announcement, “The vast majority of schools report that 95-100% of students have returned in person.” Shutting down schools would be detrimental for students and employees, so the state and the Santa Barbara school district are attempting to prevent that from happening again.

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