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Some North State parents and students protest state vaccine mandates Monday

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Kelly Frost
Families in Shasta County protest Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed vaccine mandate for students.

Parents and students across the state staged a sit-out Monday to protest Governor Gavin Newsom's proposal for a vaccine mandate for students 12 and older.

Newsom announced the plan for the mandate earlier this month, with the projected date for the requirement going into effect Summer of 2022. He said the mandate would extend to other age groups pending full FDA approval of the vaccine for younger children.

The protests took place statewide and in schools across the North State. Meredith Feamster attended an anti-mandate rally in Shasta County with her nieces, nephews and children. She said she hopes the sit-out will send a clear message.

"Everybody else in Shasta County, we need to stand up as a county, it's not law,” she said. “So this is our right to assemble, and our right to stand up and change things."

Shasta County Office of Education Superintendent Judy Flores said that schools don't have a choice in the matter.

"The decision is not a decision that was made here locally,” Flores said. “It is a state-level decision that was made, and our funding is tied to following mandates."

Flores also noted there is currently no vaccine mandate in place, and that if the mandate is put into effect, it will not be enforced until July of 2022. She said there will also be opportunities for families to apply for an exemption.

“Up to this point, there's no details yet in terms of what that might look like or include, “ she said. “So part of this is premature because we don't know what opportunities there will be for families, you know, to access or utilize that personal exemption."

When announcing the new mandate, Governor Gavin Newsom said it is important to protect students and staff from COVID-19. According to state data, more than 70,000 people have died from COVID-19 in California as of Oct. 14.