California is now the first state in America to require all eligible students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We need to do more, and we need to do better,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday.
The mandate will take effect once the FDA grants full vaccine approval for those above the age of 12 and will begin next academic term, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“We know there is no substitute for in-person instruction,” Newsom said. “But we need to do that on a consistent and sustainable basis, not an episodic basis.”
Students in grades 7 through 12 will be the first to experience the mandate, which will come in phases across grade levels.
As of now, 63.5 percent of all students ages 12 to 17 have already received at least one dose of the vaccine, Newsom said.
Medical and religious exemptions will be allowed on a case-by-case basis, as they are with other vaccines.