Education Secretary Miguel Cardona Supports Mandatory Teacher Vaccinations

U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said Wednesday that he supports mandating teachers to get vaccinated before they return to school this fall.

“If (the vaccines) are safe, I do (support mandatory vaccinations for teachers and staff),” Cardona said during a Zoom press conference by the National Press Foundation Wednesday. “We need to get our schools reopened and we need to make sure we never jeopardize, or minimize, or get in the way of everything we can do to make sure our students have an in-person learning experience.”

Cardona said he realizes that such a decision “is not up to” him, and there “are always exceptions,” like someone being advised not to get the vaccine from their doctor for a medical reason, but if the vaccines are safe, they should be required to get schools back up and running normally.

“I would support it,” he said.

His remarks come as students begin to start the new school year in the next month, with some already starting classes, as the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus surges through the nation, increasing cases in many areas at rates not seen since the height of the pandemic last spring.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 91,394 new positive cases were reported on Aug. 9 alone, with the rolling seven-day average of more than 109,000 new cases.

The moving average has been increasing since July 8 and is at about the same level as it was in February, the CDC data shows.

There have been 3,175 deaths nationwide in the last week, according to the data.

While cases have increased, the vaccination rate for the nation has plateaued around 50% of the total population being fully vaccinated and 59.1% partially vaccinated.

The CDC reported 360,743 doses of one of the three vaccines distributed on Aug. 9, with a seven-day moving average of 588,000.

The Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved the vaccines for emergency use in children under age 12.

Some states are mandating teacher vaccinations.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said teachers in that state are now required to get the vaccine.

“We think this is the right thing to do,” Newsom said at a press conference. “And to address the number one anxiety that parents like myself have, I have four young children, and that is knowing that the schools are doing everything in their power to keep our kids safe, to keep our kids healthy.”

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