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Mandatory Vaccinations Not on Horizon for PUSD

Published on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 | 4:16 pm
Vaccination clinic earlier this year at Pasadena High School (File photo, courtesy City of Pasadena)

One day after City Manager Steve Mermell said a policy is being developed that will require all city employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Brian McDonald told Pasadena Now vaccinations remain voluntary for school district employees.

“Mandatory vaccinations for children are set by the state public health department,” McDonald said. “As for employees, vaccinations are not mandatory at this time and is something the Board of Education will need to discuss. PUSD strongly encourages anyone who is eligible to get the vaccine.”

Pasadena Board of Education President Scott Phelps on Tuesday told Pasadena Now he is unaware of any plans to require district employees or students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, Mermell announced that he has asked the head of the city’s Human Resources Department to develop a policy that requires all city employees to be vaccinated.

Currently, approximately 60% of the city’s 2,000 employees have attested to being fully vaccinated, according to Pasadena Public Information Officer Lisa Derderian.

“However, given the ongoing risk posed by COVID-19, the upward trend in positive cases and the Delta variant, a vaccine policy is the right thing to do to foster a safe work environment and protect the health and safety of city of Pasadena employees and the public we serve,” Derderian said.

“The vaccine policy is being developed, and implementation is not expected until after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives final approval to at least one COVID-19 vaccine,” she said.

Pasadena, which would be the first city in Southern California to initiate such a policy, follows similar announcements by the University of California system, the Cal State University system and the city and county of San Francisco which recently announced similar policies, Derderian said.

About 80% of the city’s population over 12 has been vaccinated, according to city officials.

The Delta variant, which is more contagious than COVID prime, is the dominant variant of the disease.

On Monday, Pasadena Public Health Director Dr. Ying-Ying Goh told the City Council she would soon mandate masking indoors.

According to the announcement on masking, “Pasadena now meets the CDC’s definition of ‘substantial transmission’ of COVID-19.”

While Pasadena’s case rates were lower than L.A. County’s last week, weekend case rates continued to climb, with city health officials reporting 51 new infections between Saturday and

Monday, but no additional deaths.

All told, Pasadena has reported 11,572 cases of COVID-19 and 351 deaths.

Goh is scheduled to speak before the school board on July 29.

As of now, there are no plans to close schools or local businesses.

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