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California becomes the First State to Order Teachers to get Vaccinated

California has become the first state in the United States to mandate teachers and other school workers to be vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis, a move Governor Gavin Newsom described as a “responsible action” to safeguard children’s safety. Newsom revealed the new policy at a San Francisco Bay Area school that resumed to in-person classes earlier this week. Many California schools have resumed classes, with more to begin in the following weeks.

Newsom said, “We think this is the right thing to do and we think this is a sustainable way to keeping our schools open and to address the number one anxiety that parents like myself have for young children.” The decision comes as the US faces an increase in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths, particularly in states with poor vaccination rates, raising worries and pleas for more Americans to get vaccinated.

Vaccines and masks have become a contentious topic in the United States, dividing the country along political lines despite near-universal agreement among health experts that masks and vaccines help to prevent the virus from spreading. According to a Reuters tally, the number of Coronavirus cases in the United States has reached its highest level in six months. Over the last month, the number of new infections has surged by more than fivefold, with the seven-day average reaching 118,000 on Tuesday.

However, several jurisdictions have refused to enforce mask laws or other measures aimed at stopping the spread of the infection. Newsom’s declaration comes after Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s prohibition on mask demands had a legal blow when a court in Dallas temporarily stopped it from being implemented amid a statewide increase in instances. Abbott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have come under fire for issuing statewide directives prohibiting municipal officials from demanding the use of masks.

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