San Diego County

Sweetwater Union High School District Delays Vaccine Mandate

The battle over vaccination mandates in San Diego County schools is heating up

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The Sweetwater Union High School District is delaying plans for a vaccine mandate while the San Diego Unified School District appeals a court order that put a stop to its requirement.

Vaccine mandates for school kids conjure up strong feelings on both sides of that debate.

“I am frustrated,” Mira Mesa High School parent Tammy Tattiloo said.

Tattiloo is a mother of three. Her daughter is a senior at Mira Mesa High School and a state-ranked wrestler. Without a vaccination mandate in place, she fears her daughter’s opportunities could dry up. 

“That puts her at risk for missing matches, for having to sit out, for tournaments being cancelled altogether,” Tattiloo said.

Let them Choose, an initiative supported by the nonprofit organization Let Them Breath, sued San Diego Unified School District over its mandate and won.

“Let Them Choose isn’t anti-vax. We are just for choice. We are anti-mandates that are overreaching," founder Sharon McKeeman said.

In December Superior Court Judge John Meyer determined that San Diego Unified’s mandate was in fact in conflict with the state law and that only the legislature can make such a mandate without a personal belief exemption.

San Diego Unified confirmed its intent to appeal Monday. Its argument is not part of the court filing.

McKeeman says the judge told the group the district can’t reinstate the vaccine requirement without a stay of the order while the decision is appealed.

“We are opening ourselves up to cancelling sports, cancelling activities, cancelling prom, cancelling graduation,” Tatilloo said.

A letter went out to Sweetwater Unified High School parents Tuesday, the very day students returned from winter break.

The administration wrote: “The Board will not be requiring student vaccinations until at least the commencement of Off-Season Sports in May 2022 and for in-person instruction commencing in the 2022-2023 school year.”

McKeeman said her group sent a demand letter to Sweetwater Dec. 13 after getting wind that the board was considering its own vaccination mandate.

She said the delay sends a message to other school districts.

“When parents come together, and they insist the law is followed, that echoes throughout the county and state,” Mckeeman said.

Let Them Breathe will continue its fight against mask mandates in schools when the issue returns to court on Jan. 28

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