Sacramento, California - Health, education and state leaders around California are expressing support for Governor Newsom’s announcement of new booster requirements and testing measures to better protect Californians as the Omicron variant becomes the dominant COVID-19 strain in the nation. The state is requiring health care workers to get boosters by February 1, 2022, distributing at-home test kits statewide for students returning to public school and extending hours at testing sites with increased demand to help ensure everyone in California has access to testing throughout the holiday season and that K-12 public school students can return to school safely.

Since the onset of the pandemic, California has set the standard when it comes to vaccine and masking measures, including requiring that workers in health care settings be fully vaccinated, announcing that the COVID-19 vaccine will be added to the list of vaccinations required to attend school in-person when fully authorized for applicable grade spans, requiring masking in schools and implementing a standard that all school staff and all state workers either show proof of full vaccination or be tested. These decisive actions have resulted in California being labeled the safest state to live in during COVID-19 and a national leader in preventing school closures.

Here’s what health, education and state leaders had to say about Governor Newsom’s latest announcements:

Dr. Jorge Luis Salinas, Director of Hospital Epidemiology/Infection Prevention & Control Fellowship at Stanford University: “This is the right move. Others soon to follow.”

Jenny Lam, San Francisco Board of Education Commissioner: “Thrilled COVID testing for public school students is expanding. We will keep pushing for equity and more access for families especially as Omicron rates are increasing; student learning and safety must stay in the forefront. Thank you Governor Newsom.” 

Dr. Manali Patel, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Stanford University: “[Governor Newsom is] keeping communities safe through access that is easy and convenient.”

Dr. Debra Duardo, Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools: “The LA County Office of Education is actively working with the LA County Department of Public Health and the California Department of Public Health to facilitate the distribution of at-home COVID-19 test kits to LA County students as they head back to school. At-home testing options support our ability to prevent transmission as students return to campus.”

Congresswoman Norma Torres (CA-35): “We have already seen vaccine requirements work with our school staff, I am thankful for this decision.”

Lieutenant Governor of California Eleni Kounalakis: “Grateful to see the Governor's continued leadership as he takes proactive steps to ensure that CA kids can continue to learn safely in person and keep our schools open.”

Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley): "California is doing great, and we want to keep it up. We're doing great because we have great vaccination rates, but we want to top everybody and get completely vaccinated. Everybody, boost it."

Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland): “I applaud this move by @GavinNewsom. It’s critical we get as many Californians vaccinated–w/ boosters–as quick as we can.”

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria: “Appreciate the Governor’s leadership to help keep California families safe this holiday season and ready to take on the new year in good health.”