The board of the Delano Union School District voted unanimously Friday to require that staff members be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 15 unless they have a medical or religious exemption.
The policy will apply to all district employees but not to students or community members entering school sites or facilities.
Superintendent Rosalina Rivera said the requirement was rolled out in light of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Aug. 23 approval of the Pfizer vaccine. In a statement, she noted the district's goal is to help "reduce and eliminate in-school transmission of the SARS-Cov-2 virus."
"With this board policy, DUSD is closing the vaccination gap among staff members. Our current staff vaccination rate is 87%," she wrote. "Our goal is to have a healthy and safe learning environment for all students and staff at DUSD."
The policy is stricter than the current statewide vaccine mandate for school staff allowing employees to receive weekly testing as an alternative. The California State University system and Kern Community College District have similar vaccination policies, though theirs also apply to students.
The board resolution states the district will provide vaccinations to the staff without charge during work hours and will also provide time off work for post-vaccination recovery.