In response to the Center for Disease Control’s (“CDC”) July 27, 2021 updated masking recommendations, which generally recommends wearing a mask indoors in public areas, and the surge in Delta variant cases, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) issued updated “Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings” on July 28, 2021. The primary updates were to require or recommend “universal” masking indoors statewide, regardless of vaccination status, and to reference new requirements for unvaccinated workers in high-risk settings, in the State Health Officer Order dated July 26, 2021.
On July 26, 2021, the Public Employment Relations Board (“PERB”) issued its decision in AFSCME v. Regents of the University of California, PERB Decision No. 2783.1 The case involved two unions representing classified employees of the University of California (“UC”) system. The unions challenged the UC’s decision to implement a system-wide requirement that all employees and students “living, learning or working” on a UC campus receive the influenza vaccine. The unions alleged that the UC violated its duty to negotiate the decision to implement the policy, as well as the effects of the decision.
On August 11, 2021, California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) issued a State Public Health Officer Order (“Order”) for all public and private K-12 schools to verify whether their workers are vaccinated. This Order applies to all public and private schools serving students in transitional kindergarten through grade 12, but does not apply to home schools, child care, or higher education. The Order goes into effect on August 12, and all schools must be in full compliance by October 15. Employees who are not fully vaccinated must be tested at least once a week.
California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Requirement for Universal Masking Indoors at K-12 Schools
August 23, 2021 Letter
Letter from the Director and State Public Health Officer, Dr. Thomás Aragón, which emphasizes the need for universal masking within K-12 Schools. The Letter addresses:
The Legal Requirements for Schools to Implement Universal Masking;
- Scientific Evidence Strongly Supports Universal Masking in K-12 Schools as Necessary to Protect the Health and Safety of Students, Staff, and Families, Particularly in the Face of the Delta Variant;
- Schools Face Substantial Legal, Financial, and Other Risks if They Do Not Follow Mandatory Universal Masking Directive; and
- Opposition to Mask Requirements Is Based on Misinformation
A Local Educational Agency (“LEA”) to obtain a signed written agreement for a student to participate in Independent Study (“IS”) during the 2021-2022 school year. As discussed in more detail below, for the 2021-2022 school year only, LEAs have 30 calendar days from the date of the student’s first day of participation in IS to obtain all required signatures on the IS agreement. This means in the case of a student who starts participating in IS on, for example, October 1, 2021, the LEA will have until October 31, 2021, to obtain the required signatures on the IS agreement.
Who can provide consent for a student to be tested for COVID-19? Consent can be provided by:
- A student’s parent (or other adult legally responsible for the student) for a student under the age of eighteen; or
- A student who is at least thirteen years of age.
On August 23, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) issued its “Requirement for Universal Masking Indoors at K-12 Schools.”1 The CDPH states: “To be clear: failure to enforce the mask requirement breaches not only a legal duty, but also the first and foremost duty of every school leader—to protect students.” Frequently Asked Masking Questions included in this update.