The Santa Monica-Malibu School District calls for vaccinations for teachers, universal masking for everyone

The school board of SMMUSD is taking action in response to the spread of the Delta variant

By Sam Catanzaro

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) requires teachers and staff to be vaccinated, while requiring students and staff to wear masks both indoors and outdoors.

During a special meeting on August 10th, in response to the COVID-19 Delta variant, the SMMUSD school board passed two resolutions that require vaccinations for all employees and universal internal and external masking.

“As superintendent, if I’m wrong, I have to make sure on the side that we were too careful and health-friendly, not that we missed this new Delta variant and took unnecessary risks,” said Dr. Ben Drati, superintendent, in a statement. “Like many parents, I regret that we have to implement these measures in order to ensure the continuation of face-to-face teaching for this school year as well as possible. We make the most of an unfortunate scenario. ”

According to the vaccination order, all SMMUSD employees must report their COVID-19 vaccination status to the district by August 19, 2021. As of October 1, 2021, employees will only be allowed to enter the district campus or facilities if they are fully vaccinated and have submitted documentation or been granted an leave of absence.

“Unvaccinated employees who work on campus are excluded from campus and are considered to be on leave unless an employee has received a district-approved exemption or other accommodation,” the resolution said. “Employees can request an exemption or placement for religious reasons or on the basis that a disability, medical condition, or mental health condition prevents vaccinations, tests, and / or mask wear. The superintendent or the representative establishes a procedure for the individual examination of such applications. ”

Any employee who receives an exemption or accommodation must undergo a COVID-19 test twice a week.

In addition, the resolution states that all district employees, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask indoors and outdoors at all times on the school premises, subject to exceptions.

In a separate resolution, the SMMUSD school board passed rules mandating the wearing of masks both indoors and outdoors while bringing weekly COVID-19 tests to campus.

“To gain access to the district’s campuses and facilities, all indoor and outdoor students, regardless of vaccination status and test results, subject to exceptions or accommodation, must wear a face mask,” the resolution said. “Students may request exemption or accommodation on religious grounds or on the basis that a medical condition, illness, mental illness or hearing impairment documented by a doctor prevents the student from wearing the mask or taking the test. ”

In addition, according to the resolution, all students and employees, regardless of their vaccination status, must undergo a regular PCR test at the beginning of the school year. Proof of a negative COVID-19 test result is required to gain access to the district’s campuses and facilities. According to the district, the tests will be conducted during the school day at school at no cost to students and families.

“If a student refuses the test but the county or school staff has good reason to believe the student has an infectious disease, the student will be sent home and not allowed to return until school authorities are satisfied there is a contagious or infectious disease. Disease does not exist, ”the resolution said.

Students can also request an exemption from the examination requirement.

In addition to the rules regarding students, faculty and staff, the SMMUSD Board of Directors has taken steps to require all visitors to the district’s campuses and facilities to wear a face mask at all times, subject to exemptions or accommodation.

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