Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Proposed: Mandatory COVID vaccination in California schools

 January 25, 2022 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Tuesday. January 25th>>>>

Mandatory covid-19 vaccines for kids in school

More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….######

San Diego County public health officials reported nearly 6,000 COVID cases on Monday, and 20 additional deaths associated with the virus. The numbers reflect totals as of sunday. More than 7,000 cases were reported on Saturday, and more than 10,000 cases on friday.

In response, Southwestern College in Chula Vista put out S notice on monday that they were taking classes online. While a few classes will be allowed to be held in-person, the majority will be remote through February 25th. Exceptions will be made for some performing arts and sports.

#######

The Los Angeles unified school district is doing away with cloth masks. Instead, the nation's second largest school district says students and staff need to wear "well fitted non-cloth masks, with nose wires." The district says everyone has to wear these higher quality masks at all times, except when consuming food or drink. Health officials have increasingly encouraged people to upgrade their masks to surgical-grade or higher quality, like N-95.

#######

Krispy Kreme is offering a free box of donuts to people who donate blood. It’s part of an effort to address a blood shortage crisis seen across the country. To get some donuts, you need to order in-person and have your donation sticker with you. You can also show proof of your donation with the Red Cross App. Since March of last year, the Red Cross has seen a drop in donations, due to cancelled blood drives and staffing shortages.

#########

From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.Stay with me for more of the local news you need.

There's a new effort to change state law to require all California students be vaccinated against covid-19 without allowing a personal belief exemption.

KPBS education reporter M.G. Perez says the state’s two largest school districts are supporting it.

Carla Michaelis is a paraeducator at Pershing Middle School. She’s waiting to be tested for COVID-19…again…

“I did have a bunch of home tests, but I ran out. I test about every week.”

Carla has also followed the San Diego Unified School District’s requirement to be fully vaccinated..something that 75-percent of the district’s students 12 and up have now done according to School Board Trustee Richard Barrera. Barrera traveled to the San Fernando Valley, this morning, to support a proposed change to state law.

CG: Richard Barrera/SD Unified School Board Trustee

“Our educators want to be able to come to work and do their job which is to educate students rather than continue with this rollercoaster of needing to be public health experts at the same time they’re trying to educate kids.”

State Senator Dr. Richard Pan of Sacramento is a pediatrician, politician, and parent proposing a bill to close the loophole allowing other parents to use personal beliefs to keep their children from getting any state mandated vaccinations…including COVID-19

CG: Dr. Richard Pan/ (D) Sacramento

“We can make effective use of our time and money to be sure children are educated in our schools..that’s what this bill is about: keep schools open and safe and providing certainty that’s going to happen.”

Last month, a judge struck down San Diego Unified’s mandate requiring eligible students 16 and up be fully vaccinated in order to attend school in person. The district has appealed the ruling on that mandate that was supposed to go in effect today.

CG: M.G. Perez/KPBS News

“while there remains no student vaccination mandate for now. The start of the spring semester does bring a deadline for district staff members who must now be fully vaccinated or have applied for their exemptions.”

KPBS News obtained this copy of a termination letter sent January 20th to dozens of employees who have not complied. Simply said, it informs the staff member they will be terminated tomorrow January 25th for failure to provide by January 18th… proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Carla Michaelis complied on time and with good reason…

CG: Carla Michaelis/Paraeducator

“I think it gives a lot of people peace of mind…that’s really important for the employees and the parents.”

If Senator Pan and his coalition of education officials succeed in getting the “keep schools open and safe” bill passed. The earliest it would be enacted is January 1st, 2023. MGP KPBS News

##########

A Mexican journalist was gunned down in front of her home in Tijuana on sunday. this is the second reporter murdered there in a week… and the third this month in mexico.

kpbs reporter kitty alvarado spoke with a journalist and friend of two of the reporters killed… left in shock over the shootings.

Lourdes Maldonado/Journalist

Vengo tambien aqui para pedirle apoyo,ayuda y justicia laboral porque hasta temo por mi vida (I come to ask you for support, help and justice because I fear for my life)

This is journalist Lourdes Maldonado in 2019 pleading with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for help because she feared for her life.

On Sunday she was gunned down outside her home in a Tijuana neighborhood. She is the second well known reporter murdered in the border city in less than a week.

Margarito Martinez was shot and killed outside of his Tijuana home on January 17th.

Aline Corpus

Border Region Journalist

I really want to say to you that my country, my city is safe for everyone, but it isn’t true, no more.

Aline Corpus, has been a border region journalist for over 20 years … Maldonado and Martinez were her friends. She’s devastated over their deaths. She says reporters across our border are feeling very vulnerable right now.

I feel hopeless because we thought that with the murder of Margarito we have all the attention on Tijuana and we were, I don’t know, safe and look what happened Lourdes was shot, so no, no we don’t feel safe in Tijuana, we didn’t think that this was going to happen to Lourdes or to anyone

She says Maldonado had just attended Martinez’s vigil and funeral. His death hit too close to home for her.

She was very sad and I think she wasn’t okay

She says Maldonado was a political reporter with over 40 years experience and was passionate about covering corruption.

And Martinez worked for over seven publications and covered crime and also helped reporters on this side of the border cover stories there. He was beloved by the journalism community because he took time to help new reporters, always had kind words and was just fun to be around.

When we all knew about his murder it was a very personal thing for all the reporters in Tijuana,

Reporters there have to navigate what no reporter should

This time is very difficult for us, we have to cover and feel at the same time. So it’ not easy

is with the Committee to Protect Journalists, a non profit advocacy organization for reporters. She says Maldonado is the third journalist to be murdered this month

Natalie Southwick

Lat. America / Caribbean, CPJ

One of the things that’s really striking about the three cases that we’ve seen in the last two weeks in Mexico is almost this sense of both frustration but exhaustion , you know Mexico is and continues to be the deadliest country in the hemisphere for journalists.

She says there is no political will to protect reporters and hold people accountable when they are threatened or killed, even when reporters ask for help, like Maldonado

there’s not always a desire to listen to them or to act on what they’re saying and so that really emphasizes you know the failure by Mexican authorities to take these threats seriously even when they’re right in front of their faces

She says everyone should care about the staggering numbers of journalists being killed in Mexico … CPJ has documented and is investigating 18 in the last two years

that’s an average of one every six weeks that’s a horrifying statistic and that’s not something that can continue, we’re going to lose access to information there’s already parts of the country that are effectively news deserts

Aline says while she and her colleagues will carry on with their work they can’t help but wonder the obvious

We have to stop and think about security very seriously and we think that we have a question on our minds, who could be the next one?

Journalists across the country are organizing demonstrations to call on the government to do something and ask everyone’s support.

Kitty Alvarado, KPBS News.

##########

Commuters who take the 78 to the 5 freeway are often met with a stoplight and long lines. KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne tells us local leaders are trying to secure funding for improvements to this interchange.

Local leaders are mobilizing to secure infrastructure funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“I was very proud to announce last week that two local projects here in our district are going to be receiving a proportion of that funding.”

U.S. Representative Mike Levin announced $30 million dollars have been allocated for the Encinitas-Solana Beach Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project and $1.8 million for the Oceanside Special Shoreline Study.

And Levin is looking to do more.

he met with local leaders to discuss funding for improvements to the I-5 and 78 Interchange.

“Drivers who've often taken the 78 freeway to the 5 south freeway have sometimes gotten stuck in these long lines just waiting to get onto the freeway because of this stoplight right here and so now local leaders are proposing a flyover bridge that would be funded from the bipartisan infrastructure law that would connect these two freeways together and make that daily commute just a little bit easier on drivers.”

Encinitas mayor and SANDAG chairperson, Catherine Blakespear, says the improvement will increase efficiency and also help the environment.

“It will also reduce congestion by making it more convenient for people to carpool we’re also helping to reduce traffic and green house gas emissions for cleaner air.”

Before funding for this project is approved, SANDAG will need to complete an application and conduct environmental impact reports.

But Levin feels confident funding will be approved.

“There's one program in the bipartisan infrastructure law specifically for areas that have high congestion and I think we are going to qualify.”

He says construction should only take 18 to 24 months but permitting and approvals for the project could push this out 4 or 5 years.

TT KPBS News

########

coming up.... .childcare centers are in a staffing crisis, and the solution may depend on congress.

“in 10 years’ time, if we're having these conversations, we’ll be saying, ‘why have we reverted to 1960 statistics about women in the workforce?’ it all comes down to access to quality, affordable child care.”

We have the second part of a KPBS investigation next, just after the break.

As we reported yesterday, there’s currently a massive staffing crisis for preschools and child care centers—and they can’t raise wages without raising the cost for families. In part two of her series, KPBS investigative reporter Claire Trageser looks at potential solutions—which experts agree rely on government intervention.

Lynn Twork

Kids On The Go Family Service Center in Chula Vista

“So this is what we have to follow. If they have close contact…”

Lynn Twork tries to make sense of the most recent guidance from San Diego County on what to do when there’s a positive COVID case in one of her preschool classrooms. She sounds like someone stuck in one of those tortuous hedge mazes in 16th Century Europe.

“Vaccinated or has had COVID, they’d be able to continue on working, that’s not the case any more.”

It got so bad last week that she decided to just close her center for a week. The staffing crisis is nothing new – it’s been a struggle since the pandemic first hit two years ago.

Beyond fear of COVID – low wages are the main culprit. Many providers can only offer staff close to minimum wage, and if they raised pay, they’d have to raise prices for families, which might mean families would leave. The result is a vicious cycle that keeps the industry in crisis.

There are potential solutions on the horizon, but they won’t happen without significant action by lawmakers in Washington D.C. and Sacramento.

Kim McDougal

San Diego County YMCA Childcare Resource Service

“Build Back Better is a requirement to pay early care and education teachers. Childcare providers in general parity with the kindergarten teacher pay. So that would be an incredibly huge incentive to keep child care providers in the field. “

Topping this list is President Joe Biden’s massive Build Back Better plan.

Build Back Better plan

-Universal and free preschool

for 3- and 4-year olds

-No more than 7% income on child care

The $1.7-trillion proposal would offer universal and free preschool to all 3- and 4-year-olds and subsidies ensuring that families pay no more than 7% of their income on child care.

Build Back Better plan

-Child care staff paid same

as Kindergarten teachers

It would also include a requirement that child care and preschool staff be paid the same amount as Kindergarten teachers.

“If we're getting cash to be able to select the kind of care that best meets the needs of our families, that infuses more revenue into the childcare system.... 00:11:24:02 It really changes the equation and builds the stability for the system.”

However, it’s highly unlikely that the bill will pass Congress in its current form.

And a scaled down version will probably not have many of these grand plans for early childhood. That means state and local leaders are also looking at solutions.

One is a San Diego ballot measure targeted for 2024 that would help more families in San Diego County pay for childcare.

Recently, voters in San Francisco approved a tax on commercial rents to fund childcare and

Portland, Ore. approved a measure to expand free preschool. McDougal says the San Diego measure could be similar.

“And that money then goes to increased provider pay. That is what many communities use it for, is kind of bridging that gap between what a parent can pay and what it really costs to provide high quality care and have a living wage.”

Another effort in San Diego County aims to help employers provide childcare on site. SAY San Diego set up a childcare center at its offices for both the community and its employees. It charges rates on a sliding scale, and has so far been a big success, says Nancy Gannon Hornberger, the organization’s CEO.

Nancy Gannon Hornberger

SAY San Diego

“Parents benefit, whether they're teleworking or in person on the job, they can work without distraction or guilt, so they know their children are safe and also learning and thriving. And then employers can attract and retain talented parents, parents of young children, by offering this very desirable benefit.”

SAY San Diego is currently working with local employers to set up childcare centers of their own.

the important thing is that something happens….otherwise more parents, especially mothers, will leave the workforce.

Courtney Baltiyskyy

San Diego County YMCA Community Support Services

“In 10 years’ time, if we're having these conversations, we’ll be saying, ‘why have we reverted to 1960 statistics about women in the workforce?’ It all comes down to access to quality, affordable child care.”

Claire Trageser, KPBS News

That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

State Lawmakers in California announced on Monday legislation to require California students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for in-person school attendance. The bill removes a mandatory personal belief exemption. Meanwhile, a Mexican journalist was gunned down in front of her home in Tijuana on Sunday. This is the second reporter murdered there in less than a week and the third this month in Mexico. Plus, part two of a KPBS investigation into the child care staffing shortage in San Diego, and efforts to help.