LUCERNE VALLEY, Calif. — Members of the Lucerne Valley USD Board of Trustees are asking Gov. Gavin Newsom to clarify his reasons for forcing California K-12 students to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. Their concerns about the Governor’s mandate made in late 2021 have been expressed in a letter signed by all five board members and Superintendent Peter Livingston and sent to the Governor.
The district letter makes several specific requests: 1) The Governor should issue a press release “in which you make clear your rationale for this order or clearly indicate that this will not happen now or in the future without proper input from all stakeholders,” 2) The State should provide a forum that allows parents and community members to provide feedback regarding their concerns, and 3) The Governor should end all pandemic related measures associated with schools currently in place or set to go in place and allow local control on all such decisions.
Earlier, the Governor set into motion an order that California K-12 students must receive COVID-19 vaccinations by July 1, 2023. He has not commented on his mandate since implementing it in September of 2021. Newsom announced the order while speaking at a San Francisco-area school where he said all students will be required to be vaccinated before attending class. The mandate would add the COVID-19 vaccine to the required list of childhood vaccinations needed to attend school.
But according to the district letter, the Governor’s order “puts school districts in a bind on what and how to communicate to our communities.” For instance, Lucerne Valley parents of kindergartens have asked about this “and we do not have a response since you have been silent on this.” The district adds that the lack of communication from the governor creates a hardship for the district, its parents and students.
“Once again, your actions (or lack thereof) place the burden of communication, implementation, and enforcement squarely on the shoulders of principals, teachers, staff, administrators, and school boards. These burdens erode the ability of LVUSD to focus on serving students and diminish our ability to foster outstanding educational outcomes.”
According to Superintendent Peter Livingston, the district is not “anti-vaccination,” rather the leadership believes parents should have a choice whether to have their children get COVID-19 vaccinations, or not.
The Centers For Disease Control and Preventions said last September that Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) and pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart) have rarely been reported. When reported, the CDC said “the cases have especially been in adolescents and young adult males within several days after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna).” The CDC did not provide a number of Myocarditis reports.
The mortality rate for COVID-19 increases as people get older. “Compared with ages 18 to 29 years, the rate of death is 3.5 times higher in ages 30 to 39 years, and 350 times higher in those who are ages 85 years and older,” according to the CDC.
The Lucerne Valley Unified School District has hosted a number of COVID-19 vaccination clinics for its staff and students. Partnering with Barstow Community Hospital, staff members were invited to receive vaccinations at the hospital during a drive-through clinic at the hospital in 2021. Several vaccination clinics also were held at the school sites in conjunction with San Bernardino County Department of Public Health that were open for all students, families, and the community.
“We provided the opportunity for those who wanted the vaccine to have access to it in our rural area,” Mr. Livingston said. “At no time did we mandate it though. We definitely believed it should be the choice of the individual.”