HAYWARD (CBS SF) – The Hayward Unified School District Board of Trustees approved a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all students 12 and older at their meeting Wednesday night, joining Oakland in being the first Bay Area districts moving forward with such a mandate.
Under the order, students eligible for the shots must present proof of vaccination by December 17, 2021, the last day of classes before the district’s Winter Recess.
“Vaccines are a critical preventative measure to ensure that our students learn and thrive in a safe environment,” school board president Dr. April Oquenda said in a statement.
District officials said the requirement will apply to children ages 5 to 11 once the vaccine is authorized for children in that age group. Pfizer announced earlier this week that it plans to file for emergency use authorization for its vaccine in younger children in the coming weeks.
Eligible students who do not provide proof of vaccination or who are granted an exemption under state law will be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, which is available on campuses. In recent years, state officials have tightened requirements on who can receive a vaccine exemption.
To help students and their families in getting vaccinated, the district said it hopes to expand vaccine clinics on campus. According to the Alameda County Department of Public Health, the vaccination rate for youth ages 12-17 in the Hayward area ranges from 54-62%.
Hayward’s decision came on the same night officials with the Oakland Unified School District approved a student COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The West Contra Costa Unified School District is also considering a vaccination requirement.
The district serves about 20,000 students at 30 school sites.