PIEDMONT, Calif. - Like their counterparts in Oakland, most public school students in the Piedmont Unified School District must now get vaccinated against COVID-19, following a vote by the school board Wednesday night.
Vaccine-eligible Piedmont Unified students as of Wednesday, have until Nov. 17 to provide proof they have received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine, according to the school board policy revised Wednesday night. Piedmont Unified's school board voted 5-0 in favor of the policy.
The board for the Oakland Unified School District on Wednesday night approved a vaccine mandate for students 12 and older, excluding students who are exempt by law or receive a personal belief exemption.
"This will keep our kids in school more," Piedmont Unified school board Vice President Megan Pillsbury said. "And it will protect them and keep them safe as well as our staff."
Piedmont Unified students who become age-eligible after Wednesday have eight weeks after they are eligible to show they are fully vaccinated. Students who are unvaccinated and do not have an exemption from a licensed doctor will be moved to independent study, according to the policy.
Students who receive an exemption from a doctor must be tested for COVID-19 once a week.
Several people expressed support for the new policy when they spoke during the public comment period at Wednesday's board meeting. One person got emotional expressing their support.
Board President Cory Smegal expressed dismay over having to make the decision at the school district level.
"I think that is a failure of our state leadership," Smegal said.
State public health officials on Thursday for the first time said they are considering a vaccine mandate for public school students.