California will require that all teachers and school staff be vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, Governor Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday. No other state has enacted such a requirement.
"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," said Newsom, who is facing a recall election.
Newsom's mandate comes as some large school districts in California have already enacted similar rules as the delta variant spreads in the nation's most populous state.
Health care, state workers
Recently, Newsom also mandated that health care workers get vaccinated. They don't have the option of being tested instead. State employees are also required to be vaccinated or face weekly testing.
Meanwhile, two separate court decisions in Texas have granted local officials the authority to implement face mask mandates in defiance of Governor Greg Abbott's order prohibiting local governments from issuing such initiatives.
A district judge in Dallas County on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order against the governor's order, saying Texans "have and will continue to be damaged and injured by Governor Abbott's conduct."
Clay Jenkins, the top Dallas County executive, had filed a lawsuit against Abbott's executive order. Jenkins said Tuesday on Twitter that he would meet with county emergency officials in anticipation of issuing an order mandating mask wearing on Wednesday.
Another decision was handed down Tuesday in Bexar County, where a judge ruled that the county and San Antonio, its county seat, could mandate face coverings in public schools and other public buildings. County and city officials immediately issued mask mandates after the court's ruling.
The superintendents of public schools in Dallas and Austin, the state capital, each imposed mandatory face mask orders for their districts earlier this week.
Abbott's office has issued a statement defending his order, saying it is time for Texans to take "personal responsibility" when it comes to choosing to wear a mask.
In Florida, the Broward County school board voted Tuesday to maintain its face mask mandate in defiance of Governor Ron DeSantis, who has threatened to withhold funding from school districts and withhold the salaries of local superintendents and school board members who go against his order banning such mandates.
The governors of Oregon and Hawaii are taking different approaches and reimposing restrictions.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an executive order Wednesday mandating that everyone return to wearing face masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. And Governor David Ige of Hawaii issued an order limiting bars, restaurants and gyms to 50% capacity, with patrons required to wear masks at all times except when eating and drinking.
Ige also ordered that all social gatherings be limited to no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.