Los Rios Community College District Trustees vote to require Los Rios employees and students accessing campus facilities be vaccinated


Lydia Tesfaye

All Los Rios employees and students must have their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 1. Masks will also be required in indoor spaces.

The Los Rios Board Community College District of Trustees passed a resolution on Tuesday that will require all Los Rios employees and students to get their first vaccination dose no later than Oct. 1 if they plan to access campus facilities.
Students and staff who are planning to be on any of the Los Rios campuses, must upload a copy of their COVID-19 vaccination card online and access their vaccine record from the Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record site. Masks are also required in any indoor space regardless of vaccination status, according to a district-wide announcement sent out by Chancellor Brian King on Wednesday.
“The topic of vaccination requirements is an important issue and people feel very strongly about it,” said Associate Vice Chancellor of Strategy and Communications Gabe Ross. “The board made the decision that they believed was in the best interest of the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.”
The COVID-19 case numbers have been increasing as well as public health conditions due to people being unvaccinated, according to the district-wide announcement.
Ross said there were many people at the special board meeting who were supportive and many who were against the COVID-19 vaccination.
“We heard from people outside of the Sacramento area and Los Rios employees,” Ross said. “There were public comments shared publicly and anybody is allowed to make a public comment.”
Student Trustee Jenn Galinato, who attends Sacramento City College, attended the board meeting and expressed how difficult it was making the decision that night.
“That decision that was made that night and I cannot emphasize that enough whether people agree to disagree on the matter wherever they stand on that issue, it’s about our students,” Galinato said.
Despite differences in viewpoints about the vaccinations all want to be able to return back to campus.
Galinato said how she has thought of every alternative scenario and how she understands both sides of the arguments but at the end of the day the safety and well being of students and faculty comes first.
“My role is to get feedback and to hear from our students so, if it’s anything when it comes down to my position, it’s thinking about our students at the end of the day,” Galinato said. “I recognize both sides of it and in seeing this issue and people’s stances on it and I hear it and I understand.”
As fall semester is approaching and the Delta Variant of COVID-19 is spreading widely, The Los Rios Board of Trustees made a decision to protect students and staff.
“We thought it would be for the safety of everybody, our students or faculty and our staff with the Delta variant happening that there’s just too much going on at this point and too many uncertainties,” said Tami Nelson, a Los Rios Trustee for Area 7, which includes Cosumnes River College. “So we thought it was time that we discuss the issue and do something about it.”
Just like many others at the meeting, Nelson said she felt that there were many unanswered questions on how this plan would pan out and students and staff should have other options other than vaccinations.
“I am a believer that people need to make their own decisions when it comes to their bodies,” Nelson said. “As much as I can encourage an incentive vaccination and try to make it as easy for people to get and give them reasons to get it, I don’t believe in requiring people to get a vaccine without giving a reasonable alternative.”
An example of a reasonable alternative would be to have students and staff get tested on a regular basis, said Nelson.
The board is still working out some of the details on how their plans will work during the semester since making the announcement.