One California school district has announced that it will not comply with Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order that the state’s schools must implement a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Oakdale Joint Unified School District board members passed a resolution on December 13 that stated the district’s nine schools will not deny students or staff members the option to attend school in-person based on vaccine status.

The resolution also urged California lawmakers to make the vaccine mandate a recommendation rather than a requirement for students, faculty, and staff members.

The text of the resolution noted the governing board is aware “that many parents have concerns about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine and believes that parental choice regarding health decisions is absolutely essential.”

The board also noted its plans to “petition the State of California that the COVID-19 Vaccine be a recommendation and not a requirement for students and staff.”

The school district continues to closely monitor and communicate its coronavirus information and resources through its website and other communications. Fall semester numbers recorded 377 positive cases among students and staff among its 5,809 people, just a 6% positive testing rate for half of the academic year.

Newsom announced the first statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate for public and private school students in October.

“The state already requires that students are vaccinated against viruses that cause measles, mumps, and rubella – there’s no reason why we wouldn’t do the same for COVID-19. Today’s measure, just like our first-in-the-nation school masking and staff vaccination requirements, is about protecting our children and school staff, and keeping them in the classroom,” Newsom said on October 1.

“Vaccines work. It’s why California leads the country in preventing school closures and has the lowest case rates. We encourage other states to follow our lead to keep our kids safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19,” he added.

In August, Newsom announced that it would become the first state to require all K-12th grade public and private school teachers and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“This Order, consistent with this recommendation, requires verification of vaccination status among eligible K-12 school workers, and establishes diagnostic screening testing of unvaccinated workers to minimize the risk that they will transmit while on K-12 school campuses, where a majority of students are not vaccinated and younger students are not yet eligible for vaccines,” Newsom said in the August 11 statement.

Oakdale is not alone in its concerns regarding the vaccine mandate. A Fox 40 report quoted Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools Scott Kuykendall’s statement on Tuesday encouraging California’s lawmakers to take the lead regarding vaccine requirements rather than executive actions:

In reality, for more than 100 years vaccine mandates for infectious diseases including polio, measles, and chickenpox have always come from state legislation: not executive orders, not local, state, or federal health orders, and not from school districts. Until we have long-term studies and better answers to questions, including appropriate vaccine dosage for younger children and the effectiveness of natural immunity, California needs to “pump the brakes” on mandating vaccinations and leave the decision up to parents and pediatricians who are best suited to make this decision.

In December, Newsom also announced a statewide indoor mask mandate regardless of vaccination status.

A growing number of Californians are ignoring Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide indoor mask mandate that went into effect on Wednesday as residents push back against the new restriction.

Model and podcaster Jessica Vaughn tweeted, “Insider secret: At a party at a public bar in Hollywood, CA with the pretties. Not a mask in sight. You’re being hustled to use federal funds to make the changes to the nation they always wanted but couldn’t legally legislate.”

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