South San Francisco, CA October 7, 2021 Submitted by Angelique Presidente, ESC
Dear SSFUSD Community,
As we enter into our 9th week of school, students and staff have acclimated well and are getting back into the routines of school. We launched our COVID-19 testing program with Concentric in September, and despite some logistical challenges, things seem to be operating more smoothly now. I am writing this letter to share a few brief updates.
Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the State intends to add COVID-19 to the list of diseases such as chickenpox and measles that families must inoculate their children against before sending them to school. This means that all public and private school students must be vaccinated against COVID-19. He will also mandate that all school staff must be vaccinated too, eliminating the option to test.
The new requirement could go into effect by July 1, 2022 (or sooner) and depends on how long it takes for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve a vaccine for use in children aged 5-11.
While we understand that the governor’s new order may cause anxiety for some families, the South San Francisco Unified School District (SSFUSD) strongly believes that vaccination is the safest and surest way to protect our students, staff and the community from COVID-19 and keep students in school.
That is why as we enter fall and look beyond to the upcoming winter, we want to encourage those who are eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot to get one. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommends booster shots for the following individuals at least 6 months after their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine:
- Individuals 65 years and older;
- Residents of long-term care facilities;
- Individuals with underlying medical conditions between 50-64 years of age; and
- Individuals aged 18-64 who are at an increased risk for COVID-19 exposure transmission because of occupational or institutional setting.
For more information about the booster shot and/or the San Mateo County clinics, click here. Please note that this guidance applies to individuals who have received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Federal guidelines for recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are still forthcoming.
Lastly, Fulgent Genetics, which has been providing weekly COVID-19 testing in the South San Francisco High School parking lot, recently adjusted their hours of operation and will no longer accept walk-in appointments. Individuals in need of COVID-19 testing must now make an appointment between 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. from Friday through Tuesday.
Thank you again for your amazing partnership and patience this year. We truly appreciate you!
Dr. Shawnterra Moore