Vaccine Requirement Issued for School Employees

 Keenan Blog

Vaccine Requirement Issued for School Employees

August 11, 2021

On August 11, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued an order that workers in public and private schools serving pupils in transitional kindergarten through grade 12 must either provide proof of vaccination or submit to regular testing for COVID-19.

Effective August 12, 2021, schools must require proof of vaccination from all employees, which must be provided in one of the following formats:

  • COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card (issued by the Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control & Prevention or WHO Yellow Card) which includes the name of the person vaccinated, type of vaccine provided, and the date of the last dose administered);
  • photo of a Vaccination Record Card as a separate document;
  • photo of the client's Vaccination Record Card stored on a phone or electronic device; 
  • documentation of COVID-19 vaccination from a health care provider;
  • digital record that includes a QR code that, when scanned by a SMART Health Card reader, displays to the reader client name, date of birth, vaccine dates, and vaccine type; or
  • documentation of vaccination from other contracted employers who follow these vaccination records guidelines and standards.

Under the order, workers are considered "fully vaccinated" two weeks or more after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna or vaccine authorized by the World Health Organization), or two weeks or more after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen).Those workers who do not provide full vaccination proof will be required to undergo diagnostic screening testing (either PCR or antigen testing) at least once a week. The order provides that neither an employee's previous history of COVID-19 from which the individual recovered nor a previous positive antibody test for COVID-19 can be used to waive this requirement for testing.

Schools are required by the order to have a plan in place for:

  • tracking verified worker vaccination status, and
  • tracking test results, conducting workplace contact tracing, and reporting results to local public health departments

The order also requires schools to make records of vaccination verification available, upon request, to the local health jurisdiction for purposes of case investigation.

With regard to cost, the CDPH notes that schools may use funds received from multiple sources to address costs associated with employee vaccination verification and COVID-19 diagnostic screening testing, including Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) I, II, and III; Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) I and II; and In-Person Instruction Grants (AB 86). Additionally, CDHP provides access to subsidized COVID-19 testing for schools through specified partners.

While the order goes into effect on August 12, 2021, it states that facilities "must be in full compliance with the order by October 15, 2021."

The full order can be found on the CDHP website at: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Order-of-the-State-Public-Health-Officer-Vaccine-Verification-for-Workers-in-Schools.aspx


About Amy Donovan
Amy is Keenan's Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, authoring the firm's Briefings and position papers on legislation, regulation and litigation that have an impact on the firm and its clients.