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Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

L.A. becomes first major school district to pass vaccine mandate for students

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A collage of newly-vaccinated Webb students. Credit: Heloise Robertson (’23)

On September 9th, 2021, the Board of Education voted unanimously in favor of a new COVID vaccine mandate in LA county that will affect more than 460,000 students. More recently on October 1st, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that all of California will require students attending school in-person to get vaccinated after the FDA grants full approval for children.

The L.A. vaccine mandate requires all public school students 12 and over to be vaccinated to attend in-person classes in January. The first major school district in the U.S. to mandate the vaccine, the L.A. Unified School District is leading the charge on getting students and young adults vaccinated.

The mandate is a continuation of a series of aggressive policies in combatting the pandemic, as L.A. County also enforces strict masking policies and weekly testing for students and employees. Effective January, students who do not get the vaccine will resume classes from the comfort of their own home.

A handful of Webb students have recently become fully vaccinated, increasing their comfort level in the dorms and on campus. Kalman Dong (’22), a newly vaccinated student, supports the new mandate, hoping that everyone can stay safe and healthy as more COVID restrictions are lifted. He also believes that because the vaccine is FDA approved, this mandate is a precaution that will help guarantee we can continue living on campus comfortably.

“I favor decisions that ensure we will not have to leave Webb again,” Kalman said. “I was excited to get vaccinated because that meant I would be able to get a little closer to my normal life.”

Another recently vaccinated student is Richard Alrachid (‘22), who shares similar views of striving for the greater good of the community. At the root of this mandate is Governor Gavin Newsom, who approved this policy—and who has recently come under fire for imposing it. Although Richard believes that the LAUSD’s mandate will benefit the community, he does not appreciate Newsom’s hypocrisy: enforcing mandates and restrictions while secretly breaking them. This sets a dangerous precedent that, if followed, could negatively affect people all over LA county.

“I think if Newsom stuck more closely to what he preaches then more people would be willing to follow his lead,” Richard said. “One example of that is when he told all Californians to stay away from social gatherings because of covid but just after that he attended a birthday party in Napa.”

Stephanie Baron, PA-C, Health Center Director, presents her unique perspective as a health care professional here at Webb.

“If LA county were a state, we would be in the top 10 for COVID case rates, hospitalizations, and death rates,” Ms. Baron said. “In order to have more control over the situation, we would have had to do something drastic—otherwise, we would go back to that point where we were in danger of overwhelming the healthcare system.”

Ms. Baron also states quarantine restrictions are much less strict for people who are vaccinated, meaning that with the new mandate in place, schools do not need to shut down and return to online learning once more. Speaking from personal experience, she understands how exhausting COVID programs can be for teachers, particularly health care staff that have had to rapidly adjust to new COVID-specific protocols.

She further adds that when most students in a school are vaccinated, it is possible to achieve “community immunity,” a concept also referred to as herd immunity. Overall, Ms. Baron believes vaccines are a key part of the puzzle in slowing down the spread of the virus, so that we can eventually return to a more “normal” state of living.

Even though increasing vaccinations will ensure a safer community, the mandate presents a conundrum: at the heart of the mandate is the hope of keeping schools open by containing the spread of COVID; meanwhile, the mandate will force unvaccinated students to return to online learning.

In the past year, online learning proved to be debilitating, especially for low-income students who did not have adequate resources.

While the mandate could potentially present challenges for lower-income students, it creates a safer environment for another vulnerable group––younger students that are not old enough to receive the vaccine. Without protection from the vaccine, young children are constantly at risk of contracting COVID and likewise undergoing stricter quarantine. For example, many schools send entire classes of sixth graders and below back home for self-quarantine when anyone in the class tests positive.

Aiperi Bush (’24) has siblings at home in a similar situation. Her eight–year old sister is attending public school unvaccinated, as most 12 and underaged students are, which presents a major health risk. This risk also results in gaps in their education as a result of constant self-quarantines.

“It is worrying,” Aiperi said. “Like, you could totally catch something. And we’re making sure we test her pretty frequently too, just to make sure we can tell, but I think a lot of people are just going to pull their kids out of school. And honestly, that’s not really a good thing.”

Despite the fact Webb is not directly impacted by the vaccine mandate, it is still important to understand the advantages of getting eligible students vaccinated. Webb students and faculty will feel the effects of these opinions and the mandate through the lives they impact outside of Webb.

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About the Contributors
George Cardenas, Editor of News
An avid music listener, George Cardenas (‘23)’s perfect weekend involves a homework-free day at the beach with “Night Boat to Cairo” by Madness blasting in the background. In fact, George considers himself to be a very easy-going, optimistic person, who loves nothing more than relaxing with his friends or experimenting on the piano. Although he does enjoy tranquility, George also works with his fellow members of the WSC honor cabinet to uphold Webb’s Honor Code. George is passionate about staying up to date with current events and wants to continue keeping everyone informed during his time on the Webb Canyon Chronicle. A typical Capricorn, George is disciplined, strategic, and clever— similar to a wolf, his self-proclaimed spirit animal. George looks forward to working on the WCC this year as Co-Editor of News and hopes to write authentic, factually correct articles that enlighten the Webb community. Favorite song: "Tadow" by FKJ and Masego
Eleanor Hong, Chief Copy Editor
Pencils, pens, poetry, playwright, but most importantly, passion; Eleanor Hong (‘24) refuses to let her senior year cede to boredom. Whether it is ink on paper or fingers on a keyboard, her writing captures the attention and hearts of readers all around her community. From her friends and family to random strangers, she entertains and informs through any medium of written art. She recently finished writing a ninety-seven-page play over the summer, which she hopes to get produced in the future. Her passion is unrestricted by discrimination faced by the people in her community; she writes because she is proud. Lately, Eleanor has become very driven about issues of internalized misogyny and being Asian in America, much of her work tackling these important issues and inspiring those around her. She is a writer of truth. An activist. A poet. A playwright. And luckily for Webb Canyon Chronicle, she is a heck of a journalist.  Favorite Song: "Ai No Corrida" by Quincy Jones & Charles May
Jimmie McCloud, Staff Writer
Jimmie McCloud ('22) looks forward to joining the Webb Canyon Chronicle this year and is especially excited about the sports section given his unique perspective as a three-sport athlete. On any given day, you will typically see him either playing soccer, football, or doing homework. Even with all these activities populating his social and studious life, Jimmie still allows time for fun by occasionally playing the piano, watching childhood favorite movies, or eating cheese pizza. He resides in Chile when he is not at Webb but is currently transforming his Macleod dorm into his home through decorating with souvenirs from previous games. Jimmie typically listens to Lil Tecca before games, as this has proven to be a good luck charm for him time and time again. Given the close age gap between the two, Lil Tecca inspires him to succeed and put in maximum effort. Jimmie is ecstatic to be a part of the WCC with his passion for sports history. He has the potential to add fascinating insight to the sports section but is also interested in learning about the publication process, as he has never been able to publish his athletics opinions for others to enjoy. Favorite song: "Repeat It" by Lil Tecca
Heloise Robertson, Chief Copy Editor
Delightful and entertaining Heloise Robertson (‘23) is a cherished personality at Webb for her friendly face and hilarious jokes. Our new Chief Copy Editor is a secretly talented chef, a caring camp counselor, an avid fan of horror literature, and the Webb Canyon Chronicle’s fastest editor. She has learned the importance of teamwork and empathy through participating in basketball and cross country. If you need a hand, hers is out to pick you up. Her personal goals this year are to keep a healthy self-care routine, starting with making her bed every morning before school. Heloise’s vision board for journalism includes making sure every article is timely, ensuring that she spots every grammar mistake, and including the student body in the publication better. Knock on this Head Editor’s Jameson dorm room, and you’ll find her eating sushi, watching Despicable Me, and lying on her stuffed elephant.  “This Charming Man” by The Smiths 
Taya Sibichenkova, Chief Editor of News
Taya Sibichenkova’s (‘24) kindness and commitment to bettering the world through medicinal and environmental studies shines throughout every aspect of her life. From dedicating her summer to researching population health alongside graduate scientists, to sharing her passion for nature as a children’s science camp counselor, to creating an independent research proposal on drug repurposing at the Claremont Colleges, Taya’s interest in health is boundless. Partly driven by her selfless, caring personality and ability to think outside the box, Taya knows the importance of a holistic approach to medicine and a health As Chief Editor of News, she is ready to recognize and spread awareness of the issues our world faces, such as her article on the timeline of the Ukraine-Russia war. Yet Taya’s leadership is not just limited to news and science. For two years now, she has served as a welcoming admissions ambassador. When Taya isn’t busy being a real-life superhero, she enjoys brewing kombucha, knitting, watching sci-fi movies, and playing the guitar. This year, Taya is excited to bring her interests in health sciences and environmental justice to the newsroom and beyond.       Song: Heat Above – Greta Van Fleet
Cathy Wang, Editor-in-Chief
Cathy Wang (‘22), an international boarding student from Shanghai, returns to Webb this year not only as the Editor-in-Chief for the WCC- but also as a dorm prefect and admissions fellow. She is excited to be back on campus, taking new classes and reconnecting with the Webb community. So far, Cathy’s favorite course that she has taken at Webb has been Advanced Studies Fascism with Ms. Fisher, which she enjoyed because of how the course related to current issues that she cares about, such as education and gender inequality. These are just a few of the topics that Cathy hopes to shed some more light on, both via the WCC and in person. Outside of classes, Cathy enjoys playing badminton and tennis, reading Latin literature or magical realism, and taking occasional trips to the Claremont Village. Additionally, you might also find her sipping her daily coffee or eating any kind of Japanese food. As the world slowly comes back from the pandemic and Webb shifts to in-person learning, Cathy hopes for the WCC to serve as a facilitator for the Webb community in fostering much-needed connections between people. Favorite song: "I Lost A Friend" by Finneas

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