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The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a new public health order on August 11, requiring all school staff to either show proof of full vaccination or be tested at least once per week.

The new policy for school staff will take effect August 12, 2021, and schools must be in full compliance by October 15, 2021. Robust and free testing resources are available to K-12 schools through the CA K-12 schools testing program.

In recent weeks, California claims it has led the nation in implementing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, including:

– – Vaccine verification for state workers. Requires all state workers to either show proof of full vaccination or be tested at least once per week, and encourages local governments and other employers to adopt a similar protocol. Following California’s announcement, some of the largest California businesses and local governments followed suit, as did the federal government.
– – Vaccinations for health care workers. Requires workers in health care settings to be fully vaccinated or receive their second dose by September 30, 2021.
– – Universal masking in K-12 settings. Aligned with guidance from the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics, California was the first state to implement universal masking in school settings to keep students and staff safe while optimizing fully in-person instruction.
– – Medi-Cal vaccination incentives. $350 million in incentive payments to help close the vaccination gap between Medi-Cal beneficiaries and Californians as a whole, significantly stepping up outreach in underserved communities.
– – Statewide mask recommendation. In response to the spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations and new CDC guidance calling for masking, the state recommended mask use for indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status.

​CDPH said that the COVID-19 pandemic remains a significant challenge in California. COVID-19 vaccines are effective in reducing infection, serious disease, hospitalization, and death. At present, 63% of Californians 12 years of age and older are fully vaccinated with an additional 10% partially vaccinated. Children under the age of 12 are not currently eligible for any authorized vaccines.

And the CDPH added that California is currently experiencing the fastest increase in COVID-19 cases during the entire pandemic with 22.7 new cases per 100,000 people per day, with case rates increasing tenfold since early June. The Delta variant, which is two times more contagious than the original virus, is currently the most common variant causing new infections in California.