CA School Board Calls for State to End Weekly COVID Testing of Unvaccinated Employees
( Epoch Times )
The second-largest school district in Orange County, California is calling on the state to end the weekly COVID-19 testing required for unvaccinated school employees following nearly identical case rates between unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals in the county.
In a 4-2 vote on July 13, the Capistrano Unified school board passed a resolution to ask the state California Department of Public Health to set an expiration date for the August 2021 order mandating weekly COVID-19 testing of unvaccinated workers and those who are not fully vaccinated.
Trustee Judy Bullockus, who introduced the resolution, said ahead of the vote that this resolution was brought forward so “all people, vaccinated and unvaccinated, are treated fairly in terms of any mitigation of COVID-19 in the future.”
Bullockus cited a June 5 Orange County Healthcare Agency report that indicated 35.7 per 100,000 persons who were fully vaccinated and boosted tested positive, while 32 per 100,000 persons who were not fully vaccinated tested positive.
In addition, Bullockus said the OC Healthcare Agency’s COVID-19 dashboard on July 10 showed slightly higher test positivity rates for fully vaccinated individuals than unvaccinated.
Board operations manager Colleen Hayes called the state public health order “discriminatory and unnecessary.”
“At some point, people are going to say why are we doing this?” Hayes said ahead of the vote. “I think this is our opportunity to register with [California Department of Public Health] that this is something we would like to bring [to an end].”
The board’s vice president, Krista Castellanos, and Trustee Amy Hanacek were the dissenting votes, though they did not explain why they voted against the ordinance during the meeting. Neither Castellanos nor Hanacek were immediately available for comment.
The CUSD has more than 3,900 total employees, according to a 2017-18 report by the California Department of Education. It’s unclear how many are affected by the weekly COVID-19 testing requirement.
A spokesperson for the California Department of Public Health told the Epoch Times that the health order remains in place as of July 15, and that the public will be promptly updated of any changes.
This comes as the OC Healthcare Authority announced in a press release July 15 that the county has entered the “high” category of transmission rate of 33.1 per 100,000 people, with the average number of daily COVID-19 cases at 1,068 and the positivity rate increased to 17.4 percent.
A spokesperson for CUSD was also not immediately available for comment.