SLO County students walk out and skip school amid vaccine mandate protest

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

For the second time in the span of a month, at least hundreds of San Luis Obispo County students did not show up to class on Monday in connection to a statewide protest over Gov. Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for schools.

Many parents pulled their children out of SLO County schools, while other students seized the opportunity to ditch class. Some students who ditched class did not show up to school at all. Others attended class in the morning and then left campus.

At Atascadero High School, attendance levels were relatively normal during first and second periods, students said. By third period, about 25 to 50 percent of students were gone.

In addition to the walkout, a group of protesters gathered on Branch Street in Arroyo Grande. Demonstrators later moved to outside the SLO County Public Health Department on Johnson Avenue in San Luis Obispo. The protest outside the Public Health Department was not as large as the one that took place during the statewide walkout in October.

Gov. Newsom’s mandate requiring the vaccine in order for children to attend schools in-person takes effect first for seventh through 12th grade students after the vaccine s fully authorized. It will later apply to kindergarten through sixth grade students. 

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