California parents keeping students home from school to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Virus Outbreak California Schools
Posted at 7:22 AM, Oct 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-18 17:34:50-04

(KGTV) – Some parents across California that are opposed to the state's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for schools kept their children home on Monday as a form of protest.

Because student attendance is one factor in determining how much funding schools receive, parents hoped that having their kids stay home would hit schools’ bottom line.

On Oct. 1, Gov. Newsom announced that all eligible students will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to attend in-person instruction.

The mandate will be implemented once the FDA fully approves the vaccine for specific age groups -- defined as either Jan. 1, 2022, or July 1, 2022, whichever comes first. The state expects the requirement for grades 7-12 to start July 2022, based on current information.

Sharon McKeeman, the founder of the group Let Them Breathe, said, “It’s a plea for the state and the schools to listen to them because they want to stay in their public school communities … parents sharing that they know they have the right for choice, and that that choice is very important for their families."

The San Diego County Office of Education said of Monday’s planned protest: "We understand that families and students may have strong emotions and questions about COVID-19 safety measures … However, keeping children home from school to protest state policies only results in lost learning time for our students."

Dr. Jyotu Sandhu, who practices family medicine at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, said the vaccine requirement is not different from other shots that are already required by schools.

“We have a list of vaccines that we as a society have all agreed upon and taken medical advice from the medical community. A COVID shot is really no different the main difference is the climate,” said Sandhu.

Sandhu added while COVID-19 may affect children differently compared to adults, they can still spread it to others especially the most vulnerable.

He said, “When we think about a pandemic and infectious diseases, we need to stop thinking about me, me, me. This is about us, not only for yourself, but others.”