Just hours after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for all FDA-approved schoolchildren in California, demands for homeschooling and tutoring increased dramatically, some sites home education even to the large number of users looking for help.
While the mandate, which covers all children in public and private schools, allows for independent study or home schooling options if they don’t get the vaccine, many California parents saw the new mandates as a concerted effort. to increase vaccinations. As The Globe noted last month, parents have already pulled 160,000 students from public schools due to the pandemic, fueling a home schooling boom since last year.
Recent immunization mandate announcements by large public school districts, such as Los Angeles and San Diego, had already led to a significant amount of new home education and private school research. But with the statewide mandate now also covering private schools such as academies, Montessori schools and Catholic schools, those helping with home schooling transitions are now inundated with questions.
âAs of this morning, I’ve been on 3,000 emails from parents asking for help with home schooling,â said Alyssa Hutchinson, an Orange County home school transfer counselor who helps parents to switch to online home schooling options at Globe Friday. “That’s an insane number of inquiries.”
âSince March of last year, I have seen my website traffic stay high. Over the summer it went down, but once the Delta variant hit it came back up. And I can always tell when another city puts money orders because of the little “peaks”. My husband calls them waves. Well, after that nickname, today was just a tidal wave.
Hutchinson’s website traffic and email levels are highly correlated with broader home schooling rates in California and the United States. However, she also noted several other factors that caused today’s spike.
âNewsom’s tenure, yeah, that’s what made it. But it was taller than it should have been because it covered private schools. Private schools were seen as the option last year because they could evade some of the COVID-19 requirements, the big point being that many could stay open for in-person learning while most others went remote. Same Newsom did this with his kids. But with the immunization mandates now in place, the only place parents can, really go, is home schooling. “
âIf public schools weren’t covered, I would still have seen a lot of emails asking for help, but not so many. There are simply no more options.
Californian parents who do not want “non-option” vaccinations
Tonya Pulaski, a stay-at-home mom who homeschools her children in Modesto and runs a website giving parents information on how to teach their children at home, said in an interview with The Globe that she had experienced something similar on Friday.
âMy website has been down for about 10 am this morning,â Pulaski said. âSo many parents have gone there for help. And I know my server can handle a lot of traffic. My daughter manages YouTube and Tiktok stuff that gets a lot of views, and she’s never crashed it before. It did. She even said she was jealous of my traffic, which she has NEVER said before.
âIt just shows how many desperate parents are out there. sites you can go to for help, and right now Californian parents are looking for anything.
With home schooling demands already increasing in response to Newsom’s tenure, the number of new homeschoolers over the next school year is expected to be the highest on record in California history.
âA parent wrote to me in an email ‘We need something’,â Hutchinson added. âWe cannot allow forced vaccinations. We have nowhere to go. Another mom called me directly and started crying for help. I don’t think anyone expected it.
âAnd honestly, it’s going to stay that bad for a while. Lots of people will be enrolling in homeschool at the same time. There will be a hell of a traffic jam in October.
Although there are exceptions to the mandate, such as exemption from personal belief, Hutchinson and Pulaski both said many parents fear they will not be accepted for an exemption, or that the exemption will be withdrawn later, necessitating a move to home schooling.
“They just don’t trust [the state] more on these issues, âPulaski said. “It was the final straw.”