Redlands Unified Superintendent Mauricio Arellano announced new state legislation to the Board of Education regarding vaccine mandates and graduation requirements during its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 12.

“Earlier in the year, Gov. Gavin Newsom mandated all school district employees must show proof of vaccination or be tested weekly to work with kids,” said Arellano. “Sabine Robertson-Phillips put together testing opportunities for our employees who prefer testing. “We started this on Monday, Oct. 11, and are welcoming feedback from our employees and unions. The governor's mandate goes into effect on Oct. 15.

“A press release from the governor on Oct. 1 announced plans to mandate vaccines for students,” continued Arellano.

“I want to remind everyone it is just a press release at the moment, and there is no executive order, but we do anticipate an order.

“When the vaccine has full Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, the following semester of that approval is when we must begin implementing proof of vaccination for students. What we don't know yet is the issue of exemptions. In the governor's statement, he mentioned religious and personal exemptions. We will wait for an executive order if and when it comes to detail those exemptions. We will continue to monitor this as information filters in from the state.”

Arellano also spoke about AB 101, which requires an ethnic studies class for high school graduation.

“The requirement is a one-semester course that will go into effect for the 2029-30 school year,” he said. “The class of 2030 is the first class that will need the requirement to graduate.

“We already have an ethnic studies course, and we have had it for almost two decades. It is not a new course.

“What is new is that it is moving from an elective to a mandated course. The state is waiting until 2030, so book companies have time to match curriculum framework.”

  spoke about the national bus driver shortage and how it is affecting the district.

“We are 15 bus drivers short, but they continue to fulfill all routes, including our new high school route,” he said.

“We apologize for any late buses or late pickups or drop-offs, but it's not because we are short of effort. Redlands Unified has the highest signing bonus for recruiting bus drivers in Southern California, and that has generated one applicant, so the shortage is real.

“We may need to reduce routes. We want to improve the delivery of students and not have to reduce routes, but safety might be an issue with daylight savings.”