Over 120 local education officials from across California recently sent a letter to California Assembly and Senate members pleading for them to reconsider the State’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Students are still struggling with mental health issues and need a return to ‘normalcy’ after two years of unpredictability, the letter stated.
“Parents, including COVID-19 vaccinated and pro-vaccination parents, have expressly shared that they are uncomfortable subjecting their children to a vaccination for which there is no longitudinal data,” they wrote. “We support staff and families maintaining the choice and freedom to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine for themselves and their children, but believe the Governor’s proposed vaccination mandate removes choice from the equation by forcing individuals to submit to the mandate or lose access to in-person instruction (if they are students) and their jobs (if they are staff).”
The letter also echoed sentiments from many lawmakers about California’s ongoing “State of Emergency,” which currently extends through the end of March. Their hope is that the end of the emergency will “return full local control and decision-making authority back to local school boards.”
The end of this State of Emergency would end all statewide masking, testing, and vaccination mandates starting April 1. But the Governor could retain his emergency powers if he extends the emergency orders yet again, unless the legislature votes to end the State of Emergency themselves.
Next weekend, Los Angeles hosts Super Bowl LVI, and tens of thousands of fans will stream into Southern California for the game. It’s certainly uncommon for locations in a “State of Emergency” to host a Super Bowl. In fact, this will be the first time in the history of the NFL.
Californians continue to receive mixed messages from their leaders about masking. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, after telling residents to continue wearing masks, was pictured without one, although he said he held his breath for the picture. Governor Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Mayor London Breed were also pictured without masks when they attended the NFC Championship last weekend.
If our state’s leaders aren’t willing to follow their own rules when it comes to wearing masks, it seems unconscionable that small children would be told to do it in perpetuity.
California’s legislative and executive leaders should listen to these local school board leaders who are witnessing the immediate impact of their far-reaching mandates on the health and wellbeing of children – and stop the hypocrisy driving Californians to lose confidence in their elected officials.