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COVID vaccines being recommended for eligible K-12 students in Sacramento County

School districts in Sacramento County are being asked to require students to have the COVID-19 vaccine.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The 13 school districts in Sacramento County are being called upon by the Sacramento County Grand Jury to require that all eligible K-12 students have a COVID-19 vaccine. The recommendation from the Sacramento County Grand Jury was released Thursday in a report that can be read HERE.

The recommendation is calling on more than 260,000 children and thousands of staff to be mandated to have a COVID-19 vaccine as a prerequisite for in-person attendance of classes or school activities. 

Kim Pedersen, spokesperson for Sacramento Superior Court, emphasized to ABC10 that this isn't a mandate but more of a recommendation to Sacramento County school districts. 

“The spread of the Delta variant has caused many schools to rethink their re-opening plans,” Grand Jury Foreperson Deanna Hanson wrote in a press release. “Children ages twelve and under are among our most vulnerable because they are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine at this time. The Grand Jury seeks to protect them.”

According to the report, the Grand Jury requires responses from the 13 Sacramento County School Districts and the Sacramento County Office of Education within 90 days.

Pederson did say those who don't respond could faces fines or fees.

Currently, COVID-19 vaccines have not yet been approved for children under the age of 12. The report highlights that fact and also points out that "Only 39% of children ages 12-17 in Sacramento County have been fully vaccinated." 

Thursday, the Sacramento County Public Health Epidemiology COVID-19 dashboard showed 483 new COVID-19 cases. This brings the county's total to 144,701 total COVID-19 cases. The age group with the highest case count being 20 to 29. According to the dashboard, there have been over 8,000 COVID-19 cases in the zero to nine-year-old age group.

At the end of July 2021, the Sacramento County Public Health Department issued a new health order, requiring masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. 

Then in August 2021, California Gov. Galvin Newsom issued a vaccine mandate for all K-12 school staff. This made California the first state in the nation to require all teachers and school staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccine mandate or undergo weekly testing. 

The boards of the San Francisco Bay Area’s two largest school districts are set to vote next week on whether to mandate vaccinations against COVID-19 for all staff and students age 12 and older, according to the Associated Press.

Board members for West Contra Unified will vote on the policy Tuesday, while board members for Oakland's public school system plan to take up the proposal Wednesday. If approved, the districts would become the first in Northern California to issue one of the toughest anti-COVID mandates. Recently, the public school systems in Los Angeles and Culver City in Southern California required shots for eligible students.

WATCH MORE ABC10: COVID-19 cases and vaccine boosters in the U.S.

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