New Mandate Requires All Staff to Be Vaccinated


Makayla Erickson

Teachers will soon be required to show proof of vaccination or risk being put on leave.

All district workers and volunteers aged 16 and older are now required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, as decided by the Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD) Governing Board on the night of September 22.

In an email sent out by Superintendent John Nickerson, it was clarified that all employees and volunteers 16 and older would need to provide proof of vaccination by November 1 to the District Human Resources Department, or face the consequence of paid leave and disciplinary actions as severe as termination.

According to attendance technician Stephanie Sliwinski, the decision to implement this mandate came from a team of school nurses, admin, and members of the school board.

“I think [the vaccine mandate is] a good idea,” Sliwinski said. “…Because I’m pro-vaccine, and a vaccine has never done me wrong. And I think they’re good for everyone, and when I hear people getting vaccines, I’m happy because I think it’s the healthiest choice.”

In terms of the deadline, however, Sliwinski said, “I was surprised that [the deadline to get vaccinated] was that soon, I thought maybe they would say till the end of the year. So personally… I do think that is a short amount of time, but it also will put pressure on people to go and get it done.”

AP Psychology teacher Diane Bessette said, “I feel like it does give people enough time to at least get the process started and to check with their doctor if they do have concerns or medical issues, it seems reasonable to me.”

However, if teachers do not get vaccinated in time, Sliwinski said, “The consequences are dire,” in reference to the threat of termination of their job.

Campolindo student representative senior Adriana Colon said, “I think that the more people that are vaccinated, the healthier our campus will be and will actually help us get back to where we were in February of 2020, or even just before the pandemic and 2020. I understand that there are restrictions based on if you’re immunosuppressed. But… ideally, everybody would be vaccinated. That way, if there were to be another COVID outbreak teachers would have some sort of support system.”

“Teachers probably see the most influx of students [over time],” said Colon. “So if a teacher were to get sick, that displaces 90 [of their] kids. For example, [if] 1 math teacher gets sick, then all the students that they have are exposed… So I think [a vaccine mandate] would just take that extra measure. Not that the vaccine would 100% eliminate [exposure] from happening, but definitely reduce the potential…of that happening.”

Bessette said, “The benefits [of being vaccinated] are, you’re less likely to get COVID and also if you do get it, you’re less likely to spread it and you’re less likely to have a serious case. So it seems like the benefits far outweigh, for most people, the risks. I understand some people have medical issues or concerns that are specific to them but I think for most people it’s beneficial to the whole community, and I do believe that we’re responsible for ourselves, but we’re also responsible to the community to help everybody get over this pandemic.”

“I think a lot of people like [the new mandate], and I think it’s good,” Sliwinski added. “Generally, I am finding people that are for it. And I don’t believe I’ve run into anybody who’s against it yet.”

Colon said, “I would feel exponentially more safe if staff and faculty were fully vaccinated because then there’s less of a possibility of being cross-contaminated, like if a student gets it and then the teacher is vaccinated, there’s significantly less chance that it would then spread.”