(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Preparing for the Fall 2020 school semester, Assemblymembers Marc Levine (D – Marin County) Rob Bonta (D – Oakland), Bill Quirk (D – Hayward), Blanca Rubio (D- West Covina) Christina Garcia (D- Downey) and Senator Richard Pan (D- Sacramento) today called on State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond to work collaboratively with school districts and parents to ensure that students receive all required vaccinations before the new school year begins.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a particularly significant impact on K-12 students across California. Since Governor Newsom’s shelter in place order this past March, nearly every school district in the state has been forced to quickly transition to a distance learning model, requiring a modified learning process for students and new skill sets for teachers, administrators and parents/guardians to support their children in a home-based classroom.
As hospitals, doctors’ offices and other healthcare providers prepared for a surge of COVID-19 patients, many physicians and health clinics cancelled regularly scheduled vaccinations and many parents/guardians chose not to schedule their child’s scheduled vaccinations fearing exposure to the coronavirus. According to the California Department of Public Health, the number of children that had been vaccinated for diseases such as chicken pox dropped more than 40%, compared to April of 2019.
“We must be vigilant in our fight to flatten the curve against COVID-19 and in our dedicated effort to protect children from preventable disease,” said Assemblymember Levine. “One public health crisis must not be traded for another due to decreased vaccination rates among students. California’s leadership in reducing deaths and infections related to the coronavirus should not leave us vulnerable to other preventable diseases. Now is not the time to lose ground on our work to maximize vaccination rates and reduce the spread of other preventable communicable diseases.”
A copy of Levine’s letter to Superintendent Thurmond can be found below