Bay Area school districts consider vaccine mandates for students

The boards of the Bay Area’s two largest school districts are set to vote next week on whether to mandate vaccinations against COVID-19 for all staff and students age 12 and older.

Board members for West Contra Unified, which serves more than 28,000 students in Richmond, El Cerrito, Hercules, Pinole, San Pablo and several unincorporated areas, will vote on the policy Tuesday. Meanwhile, board members for Oakland’s school district, which serves about 50,000 students, plan to take up the proposal Wednesday.

In August, the district saw an increase in coronavirus case rates in students, 40% of them at middle and high schools, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday.

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If approved, the districts would become the first in Northern California to issue one of the toughest anti-COVID mandates. Recently, the public school systems in Los Angeles — the second largest in the U.S. — and Culver City required shots for eligible students.

California will require public school staff to either be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing beginning next month but there is no similar statewide rule regarding students.