RSF School District opposes vaccine mandate

The RSF School board meets on Dec. 16.
(Karen Billing)

The Rancho Santa Fe School District board passed a resolution against the state’s vaccine mandate, urging the governor to reconsider or rescind the mandate as a condition of in-person learning.

“The governing board finds that the vaccine mandate is ill-advised and in opposition to the educational and social and emotional goals of the district for its students,” the resolution stated.

The resolution, brought forward by outgoing RSF School Board Pesident Kali Kim, passed unanimously 4-0 on Dec. 16. Trustee Rose Rohatgi was unable to attend the meeting but provided a statement to the board that she, too, did not support the mandate.

In October, California became the first state in the country to approve COVID-19 vaccine requirements for school. Governor Gavin Newsom stated that the vaccine will be required for in-person school attendance for all students attending public and private California K-12 schools just like for measles, mumps, rubella and more.

The requirement will take effect at the start of the term following full FDA approval. The state will grant exemptions for medical reasons as well as religious and personal beliefs. Unvaccinated students without exemptions will have the option to enroll in a fully online school, attend independent study programs or be homeschooled.

“The Governor’s vaccination mandate severely limits local school district control in deciding the best way to ensure all students access to in-person education and the board recognizes that many families who choose not to vaccinate their children will disenroll their children,” the resolution states. “Given this likely result, the vaccination mandate interferes with a local school district’s ability to provide in-person for its students.”

The Rancho Santa Fe School District was one of the first public school districts in the county to reopen for full time in-person instruction in August 2020. Per the resolution, during the last two school years they have demonstrated that they are able to provide a safe learning environment for all students during the public health emergency.

“I’m pro-vaccine myself but I can support having it be the parent’s choice for their children,” said Trustee John Tree with his vote in favor of the resolution.

President Jee Manghani said he also believes in vaccinations and let his own children choose whether they wished to be vaccinated: “I believe every parent should have that choice for themselves and their children,” he said.

The CDC and the Western States Scientific Review Workgroup has recommended that children ages 5 and above be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer pediatric vaccine. The vaccine, authorized by the FDA for emergency use is a two-dose series given three weeks apart. The dose for children 5-11 is one-third of the dose for older adolescents and adults.