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Sweetwater Union High School District delays vaccine mandate

Posted at 6:09 AM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 09:09:23-05

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) — On the same day that students returned to school from winter break, the Sweetwater Union High School District administrators announced they were delaying their vaccine mandate for students.

In December, the district announced a vaccine mandate for students and staff. Students that participated in extracurricular activities had to comply by early February, now they have until at least May. Those wanting in-person learning must be fully vaccinated by the start of the next school year.

Lindsey Sparks is a teacher within the district and also has a teen enrolled. She's vaccinated but thinks the shot should be a choice.

“You're allowed to have that choice, but that choice should not be forced on other people, it takes the right from them to have the right over their own body,” says Sparks.

Some parent athletes, like Cyndi Quinones, whose son plays baseball at Mar Vista High, also applauded the district's move.

“... parents are having enough and they're just fighting back,” says Quinones.

Others criticized the district putting off the mandate, saying that without it, things will never get back to normal.

“That means we as parents have to notify our jobs and say, 'Hey, we might have been exposed,' and so that means our family unit disrupted,” says Marie Zhivago, the mother of a teen at Eastlake High School.

Teachers must have their first vaccine dose or apply for an exemption by Feb. 1.

A district spokesperson sent ABC 10News the following statement regarding the mandate’s delay:

The Sweetwater District is anticipating more conclusive direction on the student vaccine mandates for school districts across the state and FDA approval of the COVID 19 vaccine. For this reason, as well as waiting for more definitive direction from the courts, there will be a pause on implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for students. In spite of not implementing the vaccine at this time, the health and safety of all students and staff remains paramount, and existing safety protocols will remain in place.