Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate title=
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Source: Santa Barbara Unified School District

At a special board meeting on Thursday, September 23, 2021, the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education voted unanimously to require all district employees to be vaccinated against COVID. The board voted to amend an earlier version of Resolution No. 2021/2022-09, removing the section that had allowed for the option of testing instead of vaccination. 

The policy calls for all employees to provide proof of vaccination. All unvaccinated employees must receive their first vaccination shot prior to October 1, 2021, and the second vaccination, if applicable, no later than November 1, 2021. Currently, about 88% of the district’s 1,673 regular staff are already vaccinated. Medical and religious exemptions will be considered.

The new policy is the first of its kind for any public, K-12 school district in Santa Barbara County. The Resolution states that “overwhelming scientific evidence has established that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and have been authorized for use by the FDA and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) … The overwhelming majority of infections are currently occurring in individuals who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19. There exists a health emergency that requires further action to safeguard students and staff against risks of infection, illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. The Board has a responsibility to prevent the outbreak and spread of COVID-19 infections at SBUSD sites.”

Superintendent Hilda Maldonado voiced her support of the resolution, citing mounting concerns over the more highly contagious Delta Variant and its potential threat to children who are unable to be vaccinated. “As public education leaders, our unwavering responsibility is to the health and safety of children and staff. The availability of a vaccine that combats the virus - along with all other mitigation layers we have in place - will provide us with the highest protection available. For those who continue to hesitate or have doubts about being vaccinated, we are here to listen. We can provide counseling, we can provide one-to-one sessions so that you can learn more about the safety of the vaccine. We can help you through the process if you’re afraid of getting vaccinated. I understand how difficult this decision is for some.”

The School Board heard more than 70 public comments before coming to their unanimous vote of approval.

School Board President Kate Ford said she supports the policy, because “her heart and the data tells me that we must do more, and because it is my job as a school board member to do everything I can to ensure that the students and staff of our district are kept as safe as possible. The resolution is not a violation of a god given freedom; it IS a decision in the interest of the greater good. After all, that is why we now wear seatbelts, don’t smoke in public places, abide by speed limits, AND require numerous vaccinations in order for children to attend our schools. The greater good. And, I would never forgive myself if it ever happens that I could have done more to save any staff member or student from suffering or death. It’s not the easy thing, but it is the right thing to do.”

Board member Virginia Alvarez said the decision demonstrates “the collective responsibility that we have to protect one another.  Students belong at school in the safest learning environment as possible, and my duty as a Trustee is not to be popular, but to do what is within my power to protect our students, staff and community.”

Board member Wendy Sims-Moten said “This is about the health & safety of our students, and it’s about not going back to the not-too-distant past of distance learning where there was a lot of suffering, issues with mental health. We read all of those emails pleading to get students back to in-person learning. Now that we’re here, we need to do everything we can to maintain that.” 

Board member Rose Muñoz said that she took many perspectives into consideration, and felt that required vaccinations help to protect the most vulnerable children in the district; “Our students have the right to in-person learning in a safe setting.”

Board member Laura Capps added that “This vaccine policy is not about our rights as individuals but our collective rights as people, and our need to care for one another-- our students, our parents, our colleagues, our community.  As a mom, I am a fierce advocate for our children and too many of them, especially those who are too young to be vaccinated, are being exposed to this virus with unknown long term effects and bringing it home to the people they love.” 

Student Board Member Dawson Kelly also supports the new policy. “My Job is to advocate for the safety of my constituents, the almost 13,000 students of Santa Barbara Unified. After reading through the resolution multiple times and speaking with students I represent, I do believe that this resolution is backed up with enough scientific evidence and data that supports the safety of the staff affected. I hope that despite differing views within the public, we can all reach compromises in order to achieve unity.”

Joyce Adriansen, President of the Santa Barbara Teachers Association, said prior to Thursday’s meeting, she conducted a survey of teachers on the Resolution, and that of those who responded, about 78% said they were in support. Adriansen said that on a personal note, she applauded the board for “Doing everything you can to keep our students safe and in school.”

The Resolution received letters of support from other local leaders and medical experts, including the following:


American Academy of Pediatrics Support SBUSD COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics - California Chapter 2

Pediatricians applaud all school districts who have instituted vaccine mandates for staff and strongly support Santa Barbara Unified School District’s proposed resolution No. 2021/2022-09, which would ensure that in the 2021/2022 school year, all Certified and Classified staff will be required to be vaccinated.

SBUSD’s proposed staff vaccine mandate is rooted in the scientific evidence that vaccines are safe, effective, and play an imperative role in protecting children from COVID-19. With the recent rise in the delta variant, COVID-19 cases have dramatically risen among the overall population in Santa Barbara County (https://www.latimes.com/projects/california-coronaviruscases-tracking-outbreak/santa-barbara-county/#trends) and among the pediatric population (https://www.aappublications.org/news/2021/09/03/covid-delta-variant-children-hospitalizations090321). School based vaccination mandates are imperative for limiting the spread of COVID and ensuring the safety of children.

Resolution No. 2021/2022-09 is a crucial step in ensuring that Santa Barbara County children continue to have access to in-person learning.

“We need to ensure that all children have access to safe in-person learning,” says Dr. Karinne Van Groningen, pediatrician and Legislative and Policy Analyst for Southern California Chapter 2 of the American Academy of Pediatrics, “SBUSD’s staff vaccine mandate is critical in making this happen.”

The Southern California Chapter 2 of the American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 1,500 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists, and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety, and well-being of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. 

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sacjon Sep 24, 2021 02:49 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

ALEX - you're right, it's not hard to understand, unless you're VOICE, who is all or nothing, black or white, up or down. If it's not 100% perfect, then it won't do anything. Good thing is, reasonable adults and our entire society don't work like that.

bosco Sep 24, 2021 02:11 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

I agree that we will be living with COVID forever. But vaccination prevents hospitalization. So if we get to 100% of vaccination, we won't be dealing with the hospital surges going on across the country. The occasional breakthrough case will be more inline with what Hospital's see with influenza and other infectious diseases. The situation will become endemic. That is the goal. Then we can stop arguing over masks and restrictions once and for all.

Alexblue Sep 24, 2021 02:00 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Why is it so hard for you to understand that we can in fact vaccinate ourselves out of the total melt down of our medical care infrastructure and economic melt down.

If 100% of our population gets vaccinate Covid might still exist but it won't impact us.

Why is that so hard to understand?

fitz Sep 24, 2021 01:11 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

SB, How lucky you are to have intelligent board members. In Lompoc, staff vax rates are 45%. This is the lowest in the County! Even lower than the vax rate of the local eligible population! And I noticed the County has set up vax clinics at several schools throughout the County. And what large area has none.? Yup, Lompoc. Who is running this school district? Parents should be outraged that so many educators refuse to be vaccinated and the admin. is ok with these idiots being in a closed classroom with children who are too young to be vaxxed. I guess the great unvaxxed staff from SB can come up here to Lompoc, rub shoulders with like minded idiots, and teach in the schools.

pstarSR Sep 25, 2021 10:11 AM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

no because they are upset that their fellow classmates are not taking this seriously and helping the community stop this virus. they are in school to educate themselves on medicine and technology and history. yet here we are. arguing against it by the select few that Im guessing never finished highschool or college.

doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past if you dont learn from them.

SBLetsGetAlong Sep 24, 2021 11:50 AM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

“ protecting children from COVID-19”
Per CDC children have 100% survival rate.
Per CDC normal flu has killed twice as many children as Covid.

So what are we protecting the children from? 100% survival rate?

Any idea how many teen suicides, domestic abuses, increase criminal activity from Covid policies?
Betcha is more than how many kids have died from Covid.

Voice of Reason Sep 27, 2021 03:42 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

"Hospitalization numbers look worse, but Dr. Roshni Mathew at Stanford's Children's Hospital says those numbers are inflated.

ROSHNI MATHEW: All hospitals, as the child walks into the hospital for admission, get swabbed for COVID.

HARRIS: But in her hospital's experience, nearly half of those children with positive COVID tests were not actually sick with COVID.

MATHEW: So it was a completely unrelated diagnosis, like appendicitis or femur fracture or something else."

sacjon Sep 27, 2021 03:24 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

"Cumulative COVID-19–associated hospitalization rates during October 1, 2020–April 24, 2021, were 2.5–3.0 times higher than were influenza-associated hospitalization rates from three recent influenza seasons (2017–18, 2018–19, and 2019–20) obtained from the Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET). Recent increased COVID-19–associated hospitalization rates in March and April 2021 and the potential for severe disease in adolescents reinforce the importance of continued COVID-19 prevention measures, including vaccination and correct and consistent wearing of masks by persons not yet fully vaccinated or when required by laws, rules, or regulations.†" (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7023e1.htm?s_cid=mm7023e1_w#F1_down)

Voice of Reason Sep 27, 2021 03:02 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

A follow up Duke on child hospitalizations, half of the children in the hospital with covid actually were admitted for something else entirely and ended up testing positive for covid. https://www.npr.org/2021/05/21/999241558/in-kids-the-risk-of-covid-19-and-the-flu-are-similar-but-the-risk-perception-isn

HARRIS: Even a vaccinated parent can occasionally get infected with the coronavirus. There's also a small risk that the virus can pass to an unvaccinated child, and that child has an extremely small risk of getting seriously ill. To date, out of more than 74 million children in the United States, there have been about 300 COVID deaths and a few thousand serious illnesses. Hospitalization numbers look worse, but Dr. Roshni Mathew at Stanford's Children's Hospital says those numbers are inflated.

ROSHNI MATHEW: All hospitals, as the child walks into the hospital for admission, get swabbed for COVID.

HARRIS: But in her hospital's experience, nearly half of those children with positive COVID tests were not actually sick with COVID.

MATHEW: So it was a completely unrelated diagnosis, like appendicitis or femur fracture or something else.

HARRIS: In children, at least, the risk of serious consequences for COVID is about the same as the risk they face from the flu, she says. But many parents seem more worried about the new and less familiar disease. That anxiety is heightened with new guidelines around mask-wearing. Gretchen Chapman studies health conundrums like this at Carnegie Mellon University.

GRETCHEN CHAPMAN: If you stop going into stores because you're terrified that you'll run into an unmasked person, that's probably overreacting.

HARRIS: It's understandable why parents would feel that way, she says. Though these risks are very low, they are not zero, and people struggle to conceptualize the difference between small risks - say, something that's one in a thousand versus one in a million.

Follow up on the flu pediatric deaths more than covid (also not they count the flu by season, covid-19 for the duration of the pandemic). https://www.cdc.gov/flu/spotlights/2019-2020/2019-20-pediatric-flu-deaths.htm

"Also of note, even though individual flu deaths in children must be reported to CDC, it is likely that not all deaths are captured and that the number of actual deaths is higher. CDC has developed statistical models that account for the underreporting of flu-related deaths in children to estimate the actual number of deaths. During 2019-2020, for example, 199 deaths in children were reported to CDC but statistical modeling suggests approximately 434 deaths may have occurred. "

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/children.htm

Basically they're undercounting flu deaths and overcounting covid deaths.

dukemunson Sep 27, 2021 02:54 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Flu is the more acute threat at this point...but if your kid gets the flu they are in more danger of dying than if they get Covid (of course its much easier to get Covid). All of this though is a side argument wildly secondary to the fact that the flu and Covid kill extremely few people under the age of 18...you have a 99.999% of living if you are under 18 from Covid (and pretty close to that on the flu as well).

dukemunson Sep 27, 2021 02:44 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Sac - I believe we are arguing different things. 464 kids have died of Covid out of the 23 to 30 millions kids that have had Covid (as per the CDC). That's obviously quite a small number. The flu has ranged from 37 to 358 pediatric deaths per year over the last 10 years on quite a few less cases (and as per the CDC an assumed wild undercount).

sacjon Sep 27, 2021 02:36 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

VOICE - here's some more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/04/health/covid-flu-hospitalizations-children.html (citing study here https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7023e1.htm?s_cid=mm7023e1_w --- specifically Table 2, here: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7023e1.htm?s_cid=mm7023e1_w#F1_down)

And here....
"More hospitalization, complications for kids with COVID-19 than with flu" (https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2021/08/covid-19-scan-aug-20-2021)

And another:
https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/covid-19-is-deadlier-than-the-flu-for-children/

sacjon Sep 27, 2021 02:31 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

VOICE - childish. When you're done speaking for DUKE, explain the data from the CDC showing 464 deaths involving Covid in ages 0-17, while 188 deaths involving the flu.

Further, explain this....
https://www.khou.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/verify-covid-19-more-pediatric-deaths-than-flu-last-18-months/285-2b3fef00-454b-4b43-a873-573ff6afffe7

And this.....
https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/doctors-are-more-worried-about-covid-flu-when-it-comes-n1276332

sacjon Sep 24, 2021 02:46 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

DUKE - no, the flu isn't more dangerous, just look at the CDC graph I posted. Right now, clearly, more than double the deaths of children have been due to covid. Yeah, yeah, not as much flu this season but it doesn't matter. Right now, covid is more deadly to kids than the flu.

dukemunson Sep 24, 2021 01:23 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Some of your points make sense, however… for kids kids, influenza is more dangerous… that’s obvious and proven. As for moving on… Covid is here to stay… so let’s move on in a way that actually resembles normality as much as possible and actually follows logic instead of (often times wild and unfounded) fear.

bosco Sep 24, 2021 01:12 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

It's so frustrating that we've been in this for over 1.5 years and people still don't seem to understand how Pandemics work. Stop thinking inside your personal circle. The point of vaccines (and all the measures) isn't to save you or your family. It's about reducing spread and reducing all-around infection. Asymptomatic and minor symptomatic disease continues to propagate and replicate virus in the population. Most people (including children) will be just fine, but a small percentage will end up hospitalized. That small percentage is significantly higher than the flu and other illnesses. I don't think any of that is controversial. What is controversial is that people continue to fail and see the big picture and what getting vaccinated actually means to the community. Rather people continue to spread self-centric opinions like "why protect children when they don't get sick" or "I'm healthy so I don't need a vaccine". These self-centric view points fail to ignore the whole reason we're doing this. The vaccines are the answer to us moving on, but everyone needs one for this thing to be behind us... mostly.

dukemunson Sep 24, 2021 12:42 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

That is true… but let’s also not wildly inflate the actual fatality rate. Kids can and do die… but at wildly (exponentially!) lower rates … so no it’s nothing 100%, but it’s not ok to fear monger and wildly inflate the danger either…

dukemunson Sep 24, 2021 12:38 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Sac -agreed that it’s obviously not 100%….but it is pretty close!!! As per the CDC, If 20-40 million kids have had it and 488 have died.. it is a 99.9999% survival rate.

As for the flu, 188 kids died of influenza in a year that we all agreed there essentially was no flu season…

sacjon Sep 24, 2021 12:05 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

SBLETSGETALONG - "Per CDC children have 100% survival rate." Liar. Show us where the CDC said 100% survival rate. Here's a few examples from THIS WEEK of how bad you're lying about kids dying:

https://www.wwltv.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/coronavirus-numbers/louisiana-another-child-covid-death/289-70cdd979-d852-4121-a78f-8e769c249cfb

https://www.ksn.com/news/health/coronavirus/coronavirus-in-kansas/kdhe-confirms-childs-death-one-of-62-more-covid-deaths-in-kansas/

And here. here's the CDC date showing not only are you LYING about covid deaths, but also flu deaths. Covid has killed TWICE as many as the flu.

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm

Get out of here with those lies.

SBWalkers Sep 24, 2021 10:36 AM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

No VAX, OK then - no hospital bed for Covid... no Covid insurance...
Have those for a choice..

I'm getting pretty tired of the feeble and lame excuses these bozos give. I was in the service, before we got out of bootcamp - 31 jabs, and there was no whining....

Andrea Smith Sep 24, 2021 10:24 AM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

I don't understand people anymore, on BOTH sides. For one, there have always been vaccine mandates for school. I remember as late as college having to have certain vaccines to enroll. Second, if someone gets Covid, even if unvaccinated, you can't send them home without pay, there are sick leave laws and not to mention FMLA if you have to be out to care for yourself and have run out of sick time. Seriously, everyone seems to just think along whatever their biases are nowadays rather than with facts and reason. Or being informed as to laws, etc. It's getting tiresome frankly on both ends. Just stop.

letmego Sep 24, 2021 10:45 AM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Even just a 3 years ago, I remember vaccine mandates for schools - I know at least one person who opted to homeschool her junior high aged child because of it. I also remember seeing the vaccine clinic at the junior high on the day they picked up iPads and schedules.

Byzantium Sep 24, 2021 10:16 AM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Norway takes an important new position on covid, now 561 days into this episode . It would behoove local agencies to follow their lead: ....... "Norway will end all COVID-19-related restrictions starting Saturday, Sept. 25, the government announced, joining a growing list of countries and states that have removed pandemic curbs.

“It is 561 days since we introduced the toughest measures in Norway in peacetime … Now the time has come to return to a normal daily life,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg told a news conference on Friday.

The virus can now be considered as one of several respiratory illnesses with seasonal variation, said Geir Bukholm, the assistant director for the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, according to local media. In Norway, COVID-19 has been classified as a generally dangerous disease, but the official classification could change soon, he said...."

Ahchooo Sep 24, 2021 03:44 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Norway has a significantly higher rate of vaccination so far, and there are other differences between Norway and the USA. It seems to me we come back to what we were talking about in March and April 2020: we need to keep the sickness rate low enough so that our hospitals are not overwhelmed. Currently Idaho (and probably some other states, I’ve stopped paying close attention), have packed hospitals, and less than top-notch care. Let’s do what we can to keep our rates low. Patients of all kinds, not just those with covid, suffer when the hospitals are overflowing and medical staff are exhausted.

Voice of Reason Sep 24, 2021 01:37 PM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

My post was completely fact based. Following the science doesn't mean you get to pick and choose which science you follow. Bosco, when those long term trials are completed and the vaccine is determined to be safe, effective, and beneficial to my six year old then I will make that determination. Whether children are as at risk our not is ABSOLUTELY the issue! And to call them super-spreaders is simply misinformation, fearmongering, and not based on an science or data whatsoever.

bosco Sep 24, 2021 11:57 AM
Santa Barbara Unified School Board Votes for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

You say fear shouldn't guide us but fear is exactly what's driving your post. Over 3.5 billion people have received some form of the vaccine world wide. Clinic trials are ongoing and children as young as 2 are being vaccinated in some countries. Also, keep in mind that the vaccine utilizes the same biological principles as all known vaccines by triggering your immune system. These technologies are not as novel as people want to believe. There is plenty of data for experts to analyze. Whether children are as at risk of disease or not is not the issue here. Children are incubators and super-spreaders. We need the whole population vaccinated ASAP so we can finally move on from this and eliminate the risk of a vaccine resistant variant. My kids will be first in line to get the shot when FDA approved. Let's get it done and move on.

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