7 California Teachers, Employees Terminated for Rejecting COVID-19 Vaccine

By Alice Sun
Alice Sun
Alice Sun
October 29, 2021 Updated: November 1, 2021

LOS ANGELES—Seven employees at Granada Hills Charter School (GHC) have been terminated for not following the district’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement.

Iris Arnold is one of the seven employees who lost her job for not being vaccinated for COVID-19. Arnold worked as a high school Social Science teacher and has been a member of the Granada Hills Charter since 2006.

“I teach students the importance of the United States Constitution, and the freedom and rights it preserves. … I never expected the GHC Governing Board to coerce me into taking the Covid vaccination as a condition of employment,” Arnold wrote in a statement.

Arnold said she would undergo daily testing; however, the school doesn’t provide alternative options to the vaccine requirement.

“My requests were religious … sincerely held belief-based and medical based. Then, I also have a history of cancer,” Sarah Olczak, a former student counselor at GHC who was recently terminated, told CBSLA.

Olczak worked for GHC for 13 years. She requested a religious exemption but was eventually denied.

GHC confirmed in a statement that its board of directors terminated its unvaccinated employees. 

“GHC must also comply with [Los Angeles Unified School District’s] vaccine mandate that all charter school employees be fully vaccinated,” GHC said in a statement.

Moreover, GHC has said that out of a total of 550 staff, over 98 percent of GHC employees have completed the vaccine requirement.

The school emphasized that the action to terminate these employees is necessary to keep its students, employees, and the surrounding community from being negatively impacted by the pandemic.

“GHC’s actions in this regard were guided first and foremost by what is lawful and in the best interests of preserving the health and safety of its students, employees, and the surrounding community,” according to a statement released by GHC.

In addition to the employee vaccine mandate, the GHC Governing Board also began requiring all age-eligible students to be fully vaccinated earlier this month to access in-person learning and activities on campus.

Students or employees with certain medical conditions can be exempted from getting the COVID-19 vaccine. However, the GHC doesn’t allow religious or personal belief exemptions.

Alice Sun