Winters JUSD will not require COVID vaccine for students in fall

Winters Joint Unified School District building. Photo by Crystal Apilado/Winters Express

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Winters Joint Unified School District issued an announcement to families on Monday confirming they will not require students to get the COVID-19 vaccination in order to attend school in the fall.

In October 2021, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that all California students would need to receive the COVID-19 vaccine pending FDA approval of the vaccine for ages five and up.

In Winters — and statewide — the move sparked a movement led by families who opposed the vaccine mandate and said they wanted to have the choice over whether their children receive the vaccine.

On April 14, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a statement that the state will not initiate the regulatory process for the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for the 2022-23 school year to allow for a sufficient timeframe for a successful implementation of it. Any vaccine requirements would not take effect until after a full FDA approval and no sooner than July 1, 2023.

“The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet fully approved COVID-19 vaccines for individuals of all ages within the 7–12 grade span. The State of California announced last October that full approval by the FDA was a precondition to initiating the rulemaking process to add the COVID-19 vaccine to other vaccinations required or in-person school attendance — such as measles, mumps, and rubella — pursuant to California’s Health and Safety Code,” the statement read.”

Jenny Pinedo, Director of Special Education and Student Services, clarified there will not be a requirement for K-12 students to have the COVID vaccine in order to attend Winters JUSD schools for the 2022-23 school year. However, all other currently required vaccines are still in place for enrollment.

Families with questions regarding which vaccines are currently required for registration should contact the specific Winters JUSD school site.

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