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California is first state to push COVID vaccine mandate for schoolchildren

 October 1, 2021 at 2:11 PM PDT

Speaker 1: (00:01)

Governor Newsome announces the nation's first statewide vaccine requirement for schools.

Speaker 2: (00:05)

We are announcing here today, a statewide requirement for in-person instruction for COVID-19

Speaker 1: (00:12)

I'm Jade Hindman. This is KPBS midday edition. A law professor faces consequences after being tied to the insurrection Johnny's men should be disbarred.

Speaker 3: (00:31)

There should be an investigation into what he did to try to manipulate the outcome of the election.

Speaker 1: (00:35)

And we'll tell you about the art scene with the weekend preview that's ahead on midday edition, Governor Gavin Newsome announced a vaccine mandate today for students and staff across all of the state school districts

Speaker 2: (01:09)

We recognize good enough, never is. And that's why we recognize our responsibility to do more. And that's what we are announcing here today. A statewide requirement for in-person instruction for all of our children to add to a well-established list that currently includes 10 vaccinations to add to that list. The vaccination for COVID-19

Speaker 1: (01:30)

The deadline to comply will coincide with the full FDA authorization and approval of the vaccine. The move comes after San Diego unified, the state's second largest school district moved to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for all students and staff earlier this week. Joining us now to break down the announcement is KPBS education reporter in G Perez mg. Welcome back. Good to be here. So first off, can you break down this mandate for us? What is the deadline for compliance?

Speaker 4: (01:58)

Governor Newsome made it very clear that there were two target dates, January 1st, new year's day and July 1st. He also made it very clear that this would only take effect once a full FDA approval had been granted. So that's the target that we're looking for, the, these mandates to be put into, uh, into action.

Speaker 1: (02:19)

Well, does this plan leave it in the hands of individual school districts to go about implementing this policy

Speaker 4: (02:25)

In his press conference? Uh, Newsome said that this will set what he calls a baseline expectation. In other words, the very least that a school district might do. Here's what he had to say about what would happen next.

Speaker 2: (02:39)

That's what we're providing here is a baseline expectation, but with the flexibility for these districts to move, if they feel they need to move at a different timeline, we do allow them that flexibility to move more experts.

Speaker 1: (02:53)

And as we mentioned earlier, San Diego unified along with many other school districts across California already have a similar mandate policy. How does this statewide mandate compared to what we've seen put in place locally, locally,

Speaker 4: (03:07)

Uh, San Diego unified, uh, went by the same rule only, uh, for students who have been fully approved by the FDA to have the vaccine. So that would be 17 years and older. Um, so it actually will just compliment. And as the governor said, this is a baseline expectation. So districts could do more or they could do less depending on what the need is. Locally.

Speaker 1: (03:31)

California has been a nationwide leader in many ways with regards to its COVID-19 response. Do we expect other states to follow suit with this announcement?

Speaker 4: (03:41)

The governor certainly hopes, uh, that will happen. Uh, and yes, we have been a leader. In fact, one of the statistics he mentioned in the press conference was that 50 million doses have been administered here in the state of California. And that totals about 84% of all eligible Californians who have been vaccinated. So that's encouraging news. It is also an act of leadership that he hopes other states will follow. Um, after today's announcement,

Speaker 1: (04:08)

Does he face any challenges implementing this policy?

Speaker 4: (04:12)

Always challenges. Uh, I was watching the press conference on his YouTube channel and I had to turn the chat box off because there were so many negative comments being made and people threatening legal action and this and that. So yes, there will be a challenge. Uh, there already has been with masks and with the, uh, pending, uh, vaccine mandates and, uh, the, the state will just have to deal with that when the time comes

Speaker 1: (04:37)

Well. So no doubt. There's a lot of pushback to this requirement. Uh, what did the governor say with regards to the need for this mandate?

Speaker 4: (04:45)

He said we're tired. Uh, he said he was tired of COVID and I know that, you know, thousands of people are tired of it. And his belief is that by mandating vaccines, the science proves that vaccines work and keep people healthy. So with this mandate, he thinks, uh, there is a very good chance of finally getting a handle on the COVID pandemic,

Speaker 1: (05:09)

Be too early to say, but any sense of the reaction from parents, students, and staff to this news?

Speaker 4: (05:16)

Well, I, I was at the, uh, school board meeting, uh, that wasn't outside the administration building on Tuesday, and there were plenty hundreds of parents who are, uh, against any kind of mandate, uh, for vaccinations. So there is that, uh, but there are also on the other side of it, parents who have been waiting for this moment, uh, so that they can feel safe sending their children to school. And ultimately that's what everybody wants. That is in-person, uh, instruction, in-person social connection, uh, for the best of all our, for the best for our children.

Speaker 1: (05:51)

And does Newsome expect that this will quickly increase a statewide vaccination numbers or, or expecting more of a slow trickle with that?

Speaker 4: (05:59)

It's hard to say because, uh, it won't happen before January 1st. So let's be clear on that. This is not something that will be a mandated right away, and once it is mandated, then it will be a process to allow time for parents to have their children vaccinated. So for the moment he looks at it as a positive step in the right direction,

Speaker 1: (06:20)

What did he have to say about exemptions for this mandate?

Speaker 4: (06:24)

We'll be exemptions, personal exemptions, which include religious and medical. Uh, so having said that, um, there will be people who will try to be exempt from the mandate, but to be clear, um, the state is very serious about making sure those exemptions are legitimate. So just because someone says, I have a religious belief against this, uh, there will have to be some backup for that in order to be released from having to, um, go abide by the mandate

Speaker 1: (06:55)

A lot about employers, potentially letting go of workers who don't comply with this mandate did Newsome comment at all on fears of being fired for non-compliance.

Speaker 4: (07:05)

I don't know about fears, but he made it very clear that this, uh, is a vaccination that is added to a list of many others that are required. And it is within the right of an employer, uh, to provide a safe work environment. And there are consequences to that. So, uh, people who are making the choice not to be vaccinated will have to face those consequence.

Speaker 1: (07:26)

I've been speaking with KPBS education, reporter mg Perez mg. Thanks so

Speaker 4: (07:31)

Much. Thank you.

Speaker 1: (07:43)

Some California legal scholars called to investigate and possibly disbar former Chapman university law professor John Eastman for his role in trying to keep former president Trump in office after Trump's election loss. Here's Scott Schaefer with more

Speaker 5: (07:58)

On January 6th, Chapman university law professor John Eastman stood next to Rudy Giuliani at the stop, the steel rally in Washington, just before the violent March on the us Capitol,

Speaker 6: (08:10)

We are demanding a vice-president Pence is this afternoon at one o'clock. He let the legislatures of the state look into this. So we get to the bottom of it. And the American people know whether we have control of the direction of our government.

Speaker 5: (08:26)

It caused students and faculty at the private university in orange county to loudly protest Eastman's appearance. One week later, the school announced Eastman was leaving.

Speaker 7: (08:36)

I've been asked for years earlier to represent Clinton or had been asked to represent Obama over his, uh, election issues. They'd be throwing ticker tape parade for me

Speaker 5: (08:44)

During the 2020 election Eastman opined in a Newsweek column that Kamala Harris was not eligible to be vice-president citing her parents' citizenship status. When she was born in Oakland, many saw racism. And that claim Eastman says he's a victim of simply supporting Donald Trump.

Speaker 7: (09:01)

They started demanding my firing back in December long before this. I mean, even talking about the evidence of election fraud, you know, sent them ballistic,

Speaker 5: (09:10)

But he's been wrote a memo outlining how vice president Mike Pence could declare Trump a winner in spite of the results. UC Irvine elections expert, Rick Hassen says Eastman and other promoters of lies about election integrity, place the nation at great peril.

Speaker 3: (09:25)

Now we're in a position where things are worse because the Republican party is being purged of those heroic Republican election officials and elected officials who stood up

Speaker 5: (09:36)

To Trump. Hasson who used to debate Eastman on election related issues says he's gone off the deep end and there needs to be consequences.

Speaker 3: (09:43)

Johnny Smith should be disbarred. There should be an investigation into what he did to try to manipulate the outcome of the election.

Speaker 5: (09:49)

UC Berkeley law school, Dean Erwin Chemerinsky agrees saying Eastman's behavior and role in the election have gone far beyond free speech.

Speaker 8: (09:58)

It wasn't a law professor expressing a viewpoint. It was an individual writing to the president and vice president United States outlining how to stage a coup. That's what I think it does. Warrant barns.

Speaker 5: (10:10)

The California state bar never says if it's investigating an attorney, it's investigations are kept private until they're complete. Meanwhile, John Eastman says he continues to stay busy with his legal practice.

Speaker 1: (10:34)

You're listening to KPBS Medea edition. I'm Jade Hindman in the arch this weekend. We'll tell you about kids free month classical ballet from the city ballet Moxie theaters returned to the stage art walk and a show at the observatory that gets us talking about indie rock books and video games. Joining me with the details is KPBS arts, producer and editor, Julia Dixon Evans. Welcome

Speaker 9: (10:58)

Julia. Hi Jane. Thanks for having me.

Speaker 1: (11:01)

So kids free San Diego month kicks off today. What are some highlights?

Speaker 9: (11:05)

Yeah, this is the program of the San Diego museum council, and it runs the entire month starting today. I want it to look at some of the places that have really great art installations right now that are also participating in kids' free month, just as a way to get some cool art to your kids and to you. And each museum is slightly different in what they're offering and what their admissions policy is. But for most of the places, if you fill out their registration on the San Diego tourism authority website, you can get a free kid admission with the price of an adult. So some of the highlights are at the Nat, the natural history museum, where they have installed work by Gabrielle Rico. He is the Mexican conceptual artist who is currently exhibiting work at the new ICA San Diego. That's also in Balboa park.

Speaker 9: (11:52)

His work at the Nat is kind of tucked away in the taxidermy and it involves neon and beach balls. And then at the new children's museum, over the course of the pandemic, they have added a bunch of new murals and installations from some really great artists. There is a new west Bruce garden exhibit. There's a new Katie Ruiz mural. There's [inaudible] immersive interactive exhibition. And then there's this brand new outdoor climb on sculpture. It's kind of a balancing thing by artists, RESA Puno and at the San Diego Potanin garden and Encinitas, I'm really looking forward to taking my kids to see this augmented reality exhibition. It's called seeing the invisible, and it has 13 really kind of fantastical spectacular contemporary artworks. And you can make art appear in the gardens out of thin air using your phone. One of my favorite works in the exhibition has a sheet like sculpture it's made from repurposed plastics and the augmented reality makes it look like it's flowing in the breeze as you move. And of course these things aren't really there.

Speaker 1: (13:01)

Very interesting. The San Diego museum council's kids free San Diego runs today through October 31st city ballet kicks off their season this weekend with some classical ballet. Tell us about this,

Speaker 9: (13:13)

Right? They're doing three performances at the Joan B Kroc theater in city Heights. And yes, they're sticking with classical ballet. This show includes three works by the company's choreographer, Elizabeth Westridge and her take on Maria's Ped-up has Paquita where pecky day is this young woman raised by gypsies who doesn't know that she is have noble birth. They're also doing original work set to the romantic music of American composer, Louis Moreau Gottschalk and French composer Francis Poulenc see valley has really great range and you can't go wrong with them for a classical ballet

Speaker 1: (13:50)

And Sydney ballet performs classics in concert tonight and Saturday night at 8:00 PM and Sunday at 2:30 PM. Mission fed art walk takes over little Italy this weekend. What can we expect

Speaker 9: (14:02)

Right there finally back in person at little Italy. And there's a couple of things on my radar. First is artist Cheryl Soering's featured installation piece. She usually works with these tiny disks of brightly colored film, hooking them together in, in what are like shimmering waterfall pieces. And the work she'll show at art walk is called raining upward, and the public can actually help install these tiny, colorful raindrops. There's also the art reach painted guitars auction, which art rock has become famous for over the years. And then there's also a full schedule, a musicians performing on my radar is Julia Sage, Jeff Berkley, Gabby Aparicio, and Israel Maldonado. The stages are scattered throughout little Italy and they have performances all day. So chances are just wandering around. You'll be able to hear something

Speaker 1: (14:53)

And it's all free art walk takes place in little Italy, Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM in the theater world. Tell us about what's on stage at Moxie theater this month, right there

Speaker 9: (15:06)

Coming back from a long virtual break with the Mineola twins by a Pulitzer prize, winning playwright, Paula Vogel. This play was written in the late nineties and it spans several decades of the women's rights movement, but it all still seems so relevant, particularly navigating these serious political divides within a family. And in this case, it's within a set of almost identical twin sisters, actress, Samantha, again, plays both title characters, and there's a lot of comedy in the way she navigates these entirely different outlooks, the political leanings, and even the physicalities of the sisters. Moxie is requiring proof of vaccination and masks to be worn indoors. And they're also saying no children for now under the age of 12

Speaker 1: (15:53)

And the Mineola twins has a performance tonight and Saturday night at 8:00 PM. Then Sunday afternoon at 2:00 PM. The plane runs through October 24th. Finally on Monday night, the band Japanese breakfast performs at the observatory. Tell us about,

Speaker 9: (16:09)

So this band is fronted by Michelle's honor, and her music is so great. It rocks and has also really complex and beautiful. And Zonar is the author of the new memoir crying in H Mart, which is a beautiful story about loss mothers and food and grief. And if having a rock band career and being a published author, isn't enough, Zenner also just wrote the soundtrack for a brand new open world video game it's called Sable, and that just launched last week. Japanese breakfast wrote a full score along with some songs, and here is one it's called glider.

Speaker 10: (16:48)

[inaudible]

Speaker 1: (17:10)

Japanese breakfast performs at the observatory in north park Monday. You can find Julia's full weekend arts preview@kpbs.org. And for more arts events sign up for the weekly KPBS arts newsletter at kpbs.org/newsletters. I've been speaking with KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dickson Evans. Julia. Thanks.

Speaker 9: (17:32)

Thanks so much, Jane. Have a good weekend.

Speaker 10: (17:34)

[inaudible] [inaudible].

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday announced the nation's first coronavirus vaccine mandate for schoolchildren once they received final approval from the FDA for various grade levels. Plus, legal scholars are calling for the disbarment of a law professor who worked to keep Donald Trump in office after his election loss. And a preview of the arts happenings this weekend.