Kingsburg Elementary Charter School District push back on proposed bill to mandate vaccine

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Valley school district is fighting back on a newly proposed bill at the state capitol. The Kingsburg Elementary Charter School District is petitioning the state to not require the Covid vaccine for their students and staff.

A resolution put forth by the Kingsburg Elementary Charter School District board of trustees is calling state officials to recommend and not require the Covid vaccine for students and staff.

"Now is the time," said Superintendent of Kingsburg Elementary Charter School, Dr. Wesley Sever. "With Senator Pan passing this bill mandating vaccines, we want to let the legislature know how we felt."

That proposed bill is called the Keep Schools Open and Safe Act. It would require all students K-12 to get vaccinated and remove any chance for parents to opt their child out due to personal belief, something the district doesn't standby.

"Having a vaccine mandate without an exemption or waiver process is a travesty and we need to do something about it," said Sever.

District officials say a waiver process is necessary for students and staff that choose not to get vaccinated due to religious or personal beliefs.

"Mandating vaccines is going to drive employees away," added Sever. "We already have a teaching shortage."

The bill, if signed into law, would overrule Gov. Gavin Newsom's statewide mandate. Newsom's current mandate does not require the vaccine until the FDA fully approves the shot for children 12 and older. Currently, only Pfizer's vaccine is fully FDA approved, but only for ages 16 and older.

Some parents in the district tell action news they support the board's decision.

"I'm so proud of the board," said parent Cynthia Reynoso. "I think they really reflect the sentiment of our community and I'm so thankful to Dr. Sever for leading the charge. I think it's an important step and a great example for other school boards."

Others say they're going too far.

"The initial reaction I looked at it and it was a roll your eyes moment," said parent Michael Brewer. "I think mandating the vaccine is necessary because we see folks aren't wiling to do it voluntarily."

If the bill is signed into law, the new requirements would go into effect January 1, 2023.
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