Redwood City, CA–Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, California’s Public Health Officer, released a public health order today requiring all school workers, including paid and unpaid adults serving in a school setting, to provide verification of their vaccination status, and if unvaccinated, to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. The purpose of the order is to minimize the risk that staff will transmit COVID-19 to others while on K-12 school campuses. The order applies to public and private schools and covers all staff and volunteers who are on-site at a school campus.  

The new policy for school staff will take effect on August 12, 2021, and schools must be in full compliance by October 15, 2021. A summary of the order follows. 

Vaccination Verification 

All schools must verify the vaccine status of all workers. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) specifies what may be used as proof of vaccination

Schools must have a plan in place for tracking verified worker vaccination status. Records of vaccination verification must be made available, upon request, to San Mateo County Health for case investigation. 

Workers who are not fully vaccinated, or for whom vaccine status is unknown or documentation is not provided, must be considered unvaccinated.

Testing Requirements 

All unvaccinated workers or those not yet fully vaccinated must be tested?at least once weekly.  

Schools with workers required to undergo workplace diagnostic screening testing should have a plan in place for tracking test results and conducting workplace contact tracing in collaboration with local public health departments.  

San Mateo County Superintendent Nancy Magee shared her perspective on the new order, “San Mateo County schools are already implementing or have plans to implement most or all of the requirements in today’s order. We have been diligent and proactive in order to ensure that in-person instruction for all students and staff is conducted with the highest levels of health and safety precautions in place. We are not only willing to do what it takes to get students back on campus, but are committed to keeping students in school as well.” 

The San Mateo County Office of Education and San Mateo County Health have worked together to create the Pandemic Recovery Framework to guide schools in creating and implementing COVID-19 safety plans. Today’s order will be incorporated into that framework.