July 22, 2021
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Hosts Teen Talk on Vaccine Awareness and Safe Return to Campus
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and the California Department of Education (CDE) hosted a virtual meeting with teens on Wednesday to hear directly from students about their experiences and perspectives on COVID-19 vaccinations and other issues on their minds as students across the state prepare for a safe return to campus this fall.
“As our students discussed, the vaccine has given us the ability to go to school and to be together safely. I want to underscore that it takes at least five weeks to gain immunity, so it is essential that children twelve and older get vaccinated now to be ready when schools open this fall,” said Thurmond. “As we enter the new school year, I continue to meet with our youth and lift up student voices so that we can learn from their ideas.”
Joining Thurmond in the Teen Talk virtual meeting was student Rana Banankhah, an incoming senior at Modesto High School and newly appointed 2021–22 student board member for the California State Board of Education, who served as moderator, and several other California student leaders as co-facilitators.
“It’s important for all students and teachers to get vaccinated and return back to school to a truly safe learning environment where everyone feels comfortable,” said Banankhah. “All of us do want to go back to that normal that we had a couple of years ago, and so I think that the more we do things like this webinar, the more students can realize that the vaccine is safe and really critical for young people to get.”
Students also had the opportunity to talk with pediatricians Dr. Morgan Leighton and Dr. Sohil R. Sud, who addressed vaccine concerns, rollout, and approval status from the federal Food and Drug Administration. According to Dr. Sud, four out of every 10 teens in California are currently vaccinated, and studies underway suggest that safe vaccines for younger children are on the horizon.
Students participating in Teen Talk were also treated with a special recorded message by several players from the Golden State Warriors basketball team on why it’s important to get vaccinated for the well-being of everyone. Prizes generously donated from the Warriors organization were also awarded to a pair of randomly selected vaccinated or soon-to-be vaccinated students.
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Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100