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In California, inconsistent school COVID rules are the norm

Some require students to be vaccinated, but many don't. There are varying rules on outdoor masks, quarantining and even on annual traditions like homecoming.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Now that schools are back in session, parents are mastering this year’s new school vocabulary: Modified quarantine, antigen vs. PCR testing and other pandemic-era protocols.

But aside from a common pandemic lingo there is little similarity in how California schools are applying COVID-19 rules, leading to a dizzying patchwork of approaches that parents say can be confusing and frustrating. Some schools have extensive testing programs, others don't. Some require students to be vaccinated, but many don't. There are varying rules on outdoor masks, quarantining and even on annual traditions like homecoming.

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Kristin Goree, of Sacramento, felt she had no other choice but to send her two daughters Hazel, 5, and Evelyn 9, back to in-person learning even though she does not trust the school's COVID protocols. As most details are left up to the school districts, leading to a dizzying patchwork of approaches Goree and many other parents say can be confusing and frustrating. 

On Friday, Oct. 1, California became the first state in the country to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all eligible students as Gov. Newsom announced all eligible students ages 12 and up will be required to get the shots, once the FDA fully approves the COVID-19 vaccine. Newsom added that we can see the mandate going into effect as soon as Jan. 1, 2022, and will take into effect the quarter following FDA approval.

RELATED: California to require all eligible students to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Last month, the Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) proposed that the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for all eligible students and staff. In the proposal, the SCTA wrote that all district staff and students should be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 1, 2022, excluding those with medical exemptions.

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