The Galt Joint Union Elementary School District (GJUESD) held a board meeting on January 26 to discuss a statewide immunization mandate resolution. The resolution would express support for personal belief exemptions.
“What I hear from parents is not that they are against the vaccine, but that it came to them too quickly, and they don’t feel comfortable with the amount of information, and misinformation is over because obviously there’s as much misinformation about these vaccines as there is good information. It’s very difficult for parents to filter that out,” administrator Thomas Silva explained.
While most administrators agreed that parents should have the final say on their children’s vaccination status and should have the ability to authorize further research into COVID-19 vaccines, the administrator Casey Raboy disagreed.
“The community has suffered more deaths from COVID than the town of Folsom, which has a much higher population… The vaccine is not perfect; breakthrough cases are happening, but the people who are dying are mostly unvaccinated,” Raboy said.
In the end, the resolution passed by a vote of 4 to 1.
Citizens expressed their dissatisfaction with its adoption during the meeting’s public comment period, citing the risks that unvaccinated children could still transmit the virus in schools and, in particular, the danger it posed to pupils in special education.
The vaccine mandate adds the coronavirus vaccine to the list of required vaccinations for California school children. Currently, students must be vaccinated before term following its approval for their age group, unless they have a personal belief exemption. On Jan. 24, State Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) introduced Senate Bill 871 which, if passed into law, would remove the personal belief exemption.
The board also discussed the new bilingual immersion program. A feasibility survey was conducted in the community with parents last month. An information evening for parents took place on Tuesday February 1 in English and a parent evening will take place on February 2 in Spanish. These sessions will also be posted online for anyone who is unavailable to attend or who prefers to watch them virtually. Any parent who has expressed interest in this survey will be contacted personally, as well as parents of transitioning kindergarten parents. This program will be attendance dependent.
In addition, the board honored Kids Discover Educator of the Month for October, Kathy Lucchesi. She is the main teacher of the home learning academy in the community and has been efficient in implementing her program. Many children of council members have attended and greatly benefited from his college courses.
The next meeting of the GJUESD will take place on February 23.