Students attend class at Copperopolis Elementary School in 2020.

Calaveras County superintendents sent a letter regarding the vaccine mandate to Gov. Gavin Newsom on Nov. 19, 2021. The response that was received has left us optimistic about the direction that the state is taking on the vaccine mandate for students.

The letter sent to Gov. Newsom stated, “We have been very successful in keeping our schools open with the current mask and testing protocols, however, this directive (vaccine mandate) will put the districts in Calaveras County in jeopardy.” Further explanation was provided, “Initial analysis indicates we could lose 50% or more of our students from in-person instruction and/or enrollment in our schools as well as a potential loss of staff.”

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Calaveras County superintendents ended the letter with this request: “The Superintendents of Calaveras County schools ask that the State of California maintains the medical, religious, and personal exemptions with regard to the COVID-19 vaccine requirement.”

In the response that was received from the California Department of Public Health (CDHP) on Dec. 23, 2021, this request has been heard. Quoting the letter: “Pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 120338, such a requirement would include exemptions ‘for both medical reasons and personal beliefs.’”

This is great news for the students, staff and families of Calaveras County. I wanted to share this response with the community as we move forward and resume some version of normalcy in our schools and our homes.

Even though the letter stated, “Governor Gavin Newsom has directed the CDHP to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccinations already required for in-person attendance—such as measles, mumps, and rubella-pursuant to the Health and Safety Code sections 120325-120380,” there will still be an option for families to file for an exemption, according to the letter.

Please continue to voice your concerns by contacting your local state legislators. Go to to find your local California Representative.


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