tv ABC7 News Getting Answers ABC November 10, 2021 3:00pm-3:30pm PST
>> building a better bay area, moving forward, finding solutions. this is abc 7 news. kristen: hello. i'm kristen sze. we are asking experts your questions every day at 3:00 to get answers for you in real time. today, we will talk to the vice president of san francisco's federal reserve bank. we will highlight some young san francisco student known as tree schoolers. it's a great story about their efforts to help save our planet. first, this headline caught our attention. thousands of northern california teachers and school staff are still unvaccinated for covid. the question is, how and why?
joining us to talk more about her reporting on this issue, jill tucker, education reporter for the san francisco chronicle. thank you for joining us. >> my pleasure. kristen: what percentage of california school teachers remain unvaccinated? >> it really depends on the school district. across the state, as of early october, it was still about 10% of the teachers, out of 325,000 teachers, so, 32,000 teachers were still unvaccinated less than a month ago. in each district, the rate varies of unvaccinated staff, anywhere from 2% up to 25% of teachers and other staff that work in school districts. kristen: does that mirror the regions in california that are and are not getting vaccinated? i can see bay area parents
watching this and thinking, hey, what are the chances that my five-year-old kindergartner's teacher is vaccinated. >> it does mirror the communities where the schools are. it also depends on the type of worker teachers in more recent months have a higher level. some other workers have a lower level. teacheteacheteacheteacheteachete rate. it really varies, which i think is part of the problem that a lot of folks are concerned about. kristen: let's talk about why that varies. are there different rules for different categories or different unions within schools? >> it really varies because of the mandate for the state in terms of vaccinations for all staff members.
each district has sort of come up with their own rules. in los angeles, for example, where all district staff had to be vaccinated by mid-october, and if they are not vaccinated, by now, they are placed on leave and they could start going through the separation agreement. many other districts are following the state requirement, which is for the staff to either be vaccinated or get tested once a week. you have a lot of districts that fall somewhere in between, where they are going to be requiring students to get vaccinated, but not necessarily staff. kristen: the baseline from the state is that you are either vaccinated or you have the option to do the weekly test to opt out of vaccination. this is coming at a time where the state has already spelled out that kids, students are going to need to be vaccinated, in order to be able to continue going in person. i know that hasn't started yet. i don't think they have a firm
date yet, but is that right? >> yes. governor newsom has said students must be vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is fully approved by federal officials. that could come as early as january 1 or july. he has said that he expects the adults to follow the same standard when that happens for students. the question is, th, already approved for those 16 and older, so why is the governor waiting to mandate the adults in schools to be vaccinated? he's already said the students will have to be vaccinated as soon as it's fully approved. it's a big question mark and we still have not gotten an answer other than the governor saying he expects adults to be held to the same standards as students. kristen: for those who criticize the seeming discrepancy in the approach to adults and kids, i
wonder if that is exacerbated since teachers were amongst the first in line for the vaccine. the theory was, once they were protected, you could safely welcome kids back. >> teachers did get pushed toward the front of the line when vaccines first came out in early this year. there were questions about why they were not requiring teachers to get them. health care workers are required. a lot of cities are requiring city staff and others to get vaccinated or face termination. the big question is, if we are requiring this, if we do believe that vaccines are an important part of preventing illness, why are we not requiring them in schools? i think that there are a lot of people that are wondering why the governor is announcing students and yet not taking that
step for adults, who are more at risk for covid-19 then children. -- than children. kristen: can you talk about what the approach has been as far as the state vaccine mandate for other categories? >> health care workers, caregivers, nursing homes, things like that are required to be vaccinated. other state employees, there is a vaccine or test mandate, like a for teachers. a lot of those folks are still working from home or are not necessarily front facing to the public. there is a lot of disparity in terms of who is required to get vaccinated and who is not. newsom has mandated it for health care workers, but he's currently fighting a judge's order to require prison staff to be vaccinated. kristen: i'm sorry.
go ahead and finish your thought, please. >> there's a lot of inconsistency and confusion in terms of why are some people required to get vaccinated and some are not. kristen: when i read that prison staff or guards -- i was thinking, maybe it's because we don't have enough of them and we can't afford to fire any of them. they need to keep all they can. i wonder if the same is true for teachers. if you follow education recording, a lot of teacher shortages, that's been going on in california for years. they cannot afford to set an ultimatum, can they? >> it depends. i think l.a. decided to set that ultimatum and what they found was that now 99.5 percent of their teachers are vaccinated. what we are seeing is that these mandates do increase vaccination, but it is a concern that if they require it and if teachers decide to leave, rather than get vaccinated, that's going to be one more job they
have to fill when they already have openings that they cannot fill right now. kristen: some are asking, what's the downside to the weekly testing option. we haven't had to close to many schools. what's -- to too many schools. what's wrong with keeping that on the table? >> when you talk with epidemiologists, that the gold standard. when we talk about a possible winter surge, why wouldn't we require a safe vaccine for teachers and other staff? union officials down in l.a., for example, and others, are concerned about having a mandate where someone could get fired if they don't decide to get vaccinated. it is a severe penalty for not getting a vaccine. there are a lot of folks -- there is debate over this about who should get vaccinated and
what the penalties or repercussions should be, whether that's for state officials, health care, or teachers. kristen: is this something that could become a political issue or problem for governor newsom, do you think? >> i think right now, there is a lot of confusion and concern about the disparity of requiring children before adults to get vaccinated, and we are going to see how that plays out in the coming weeks and months as we might be presented with a surge or as we start getting close to the requirement for students. kristen: this disparity is not just at the state level. are there local districts that have also moved to require vaccinations of students, but continue to give teachers an opt out? i think oakland unified might be doing that. >> oakland has set a date of
january 1 for those 12 and up to get a vaccine. they are still not requiring the adults at that time or at least right now. there's no indication they will require the adults in schools to get the vaccine. as of of have to have a vaccine in order to attend school in person. kristen: we have about a minute, but i want to cover a couple more questions. what kind of exemptions will be allowed for students once that deadline comes for the vaccination? >> right now, because this is an administrative decision, they can have a personal belief exemption and a religious exemption, which is not the case for all the other vaccines. those were legislatively required. if they take that step and add covid legislatively, they can have -- remove the personal exemption. right now, for religious reasons and for medical reasons, it looks like students will be able to be exempt from that mandate.
kristen: given the legislature that we do have, that's a pretty high possibility that they will do that and make it mandatory, no exemptions. >> i think we might see that. if we see that the covid-19 becomes required across the board, i think they could likely add it to the other vaccines with the same types of exemptions that we see for measles and mumps and other vaccines. kristen: i have one more question. when the deadline does come for california students to be vaccinated, do people who watch education closely expect there will be a mass dropout from public schools or students moving to homeschooling? >> i suppose it's possible. i think we are seeing the rates of children -- vaccination rates of children going up. there's a lot of effort right now across the state and in school districts to get vaccine clinics close to the students who need them and really get the
word out that these are life-saving vaccines. we will see. there are concerns that, in certain communities, including students of color, vaccine rates are much lower. if that persists through requirements, there could be a disproportionate impact on those communities in terms of black and brown students having to go back to distance learning because they don't have the vaccine. kristen: we certainly hope that will not be happening. we will keep watching it. joe tucker, san francisco chronicle education reporter, thanks -- jill tucker, san francisco chronicle education reporter, thanks for joining us. coming up next, those runaway high prices for everything -- gas,
kristen: we have been talking about how expensive everything is becoming, from meat to gas to cars. consumer prices jumped 6.2% last month, the biggest inflation surge in more than 30 years. joining us now to talk about why inflation is happening and the short and long-term implications is the vice president of research at san francisco's federal reserve bank. thank you for joining us. >> pleasure to be here. kristen: a lot of americans have been feeling a lot of pain every time we go to the store. what jumped 6.2% last month alone is the consumer price index. explained to folks what's included in that index. >> the consumer price index basically measures everything we are buying, in terms of goods, services. every month, the government
basically measures how much prices are changing for all those categories. it includes cars, energy, shelter, medical care. it would include all those goods and it gives you, at the end, a measure of the cost-of-living. kristen: got it. so, why is this what are the key factors driving those prices up? >> most of it is related to pandemic-induced disruptions. disruptions caused by the pandemic. the best example is to think about the car industry. because the pandemic, most people don't want to take public transportation and there is a huge demand for cars, new cars, used cars, at the same time, this industry last year and earlier this year -- we are stuck in an industry that has very high demand and very low supply.
that's contributing to very high prices and rising inflation. we are seeing this not only in the car industry, but in many different sectors of the economy. kristen: is this related to the global supply chain disruptions as well? >> the global supply chain is related to that, as you are saying. what we are seeing also, people are consuming fewer services than before. going to restaurants less. . going to movie theaters last. consuming more goods. we are consuming more tv's, more cars, more furniture's. these often are produced either abroad or parts are made abroad. we rely on global supply chains, on transportation, on shipping to produce those goods and get them to the u.s. this is creating this high demand for goods and bottlenecks. kristen: one good thing is that job creation figures are looking pretty good right now. are wages keeping up? >> we are seeing also large
increases in wages. at the same level that we saw on the eve of the pandemic. we saw this in some sectors that were heavily impacted by the pandemic, so the leisure and hospitality sector. they are seeing very large wage increases, in part because it's very difficult to find workers for those sectors. kristen: how does this end? does it just keep going higher? what reverses the trend? what makes prices stabilize and come back down? >> at the moment, what we need is to continue to make progress against the pandemic. most of this is really pandemic-related. as we will continue to make progress, we will see people consuming fewer goods and more services,, something closer to normal. we will see people going back to the workforce and taking on jobs that maybe now feel a little more risky to them. kristen: when this starts to
happen, is a recession necessarily to follow? >> we are certainly not seeing this. the economy is very strong at this point. we have seen this in the past. the economy right now is very strong and we are not foreseeing a recession in the near term. kristen: with inflation the way it is, what are the implications ? what levers can the fed pull to try to keep a lid on things? >> the fed is seeing high inflation numbers. it is also seeing large progress in the job market over the past year and a half. already, the federal reserve has started dialing back the amount of recommendations it is providing to the economy -- of accommodations it is providing to the economy. it continues to carefully watch the inflation numbers, and ready to act if it is warranted. kristen: could rising prices
make it harder for the biden administration to pay for its ambitious economic agenda? >> the thing with what could happen is, inflation, high inflation numbers being reflected in long-term interest rates, which is basically the cost of financing and large expenditure -- a large expenditure -- financial markets are expecting a disinflation surge to be relatively transitory, and we are not seeing this in long-term interest rates. kristen: let's hope it's transitory. it lasted longer already than we hoped. any tips for americans trying to weather the inflation? >> it's very difficult for people out there. anyone on a fixed income. it makes it difficult to continue purchasing the same goods that they had in the past. i would say to be patient. we should see this situation improving by next year. kristen: thank you. vice president of research at san francisco's federal reserve.
kristen: as we all know, the bay area is home to many tech giants, but 500 years ago, the bay area was ruled by giant of a different kind. we have more on how one organization is hoping to bring back giant redwoods with the help of tree schoolers. >> this segment is brought to you by oakland recycles. ♪ >> since they are an all too rare tourist attraction today, they can be hard -- it can be hard to believe the giant redwoods used to line hundreds of miles of northern california coast, living for more than 2000 years as the tallest organisms on earth. giants.vid and his archangeltr
he takes clippings from the tops of the oldest and largest, some 400 feet tall, back to his lab in michigan. there, specialists specialists s technique called micro-propagation to grow them into saplings. from a single sample, a team of scientists can grow an unlimited number of clones. the problem? how to get them all in the ground. it would probably take an army. ♪ and that is where these little soldiers come in. they are tree schoolers at a school in san francisco. you heard right, not pre-, but treers who attend outdoor classes to learn about ecology and sustainability at an early age, by getting their little hands dirty. >> today is particularly
important, because we are planting some very special trees, which is why we have some special helpers with us today. >> keeping their focus is sometimes tough. >> these redwoods and sequoias have been cloned from some old redwoods and sequoias. >> how do you plant sequoias? >> you will learn how to do that. >> i know how to make a whole. -- hole. >> i know what a hole is. >> when it's finally time to get down to it, these budding foresters couldn't wait to dig in. on this day, about a doz doz redwood trees made it into the soil. they plan to plant about 100 more by the end of the year. >> growing up in the city can be kind of lacking, as far as nature goes. to get kids out with native plants, with trees, it's pretty special. >> according to save the
redwoods, more than 95% of the natural redwood forests have been lost due to deforestation, wildfires, and climate change. these tree plantings are just a start. he hoped someday to replant millions of redwoods all over the world, using our littlest citizens to help sow the seeds for a healthier planet. >> recently, we have been placing thousands and thousands of these redwoods in the seattle area. they are in england, wales, ireland, new zealand, australia, british columbia. schools are calling to say we are going to need a heck of a lot more of these redwoods and sequoias, because we want our schoolchildren to start re-forcing. don't be surprised. in 10 years, those trees will be 30 or 40 feet tall. >> as the old proverb goes, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. the second best time is now.
the meaning may not dawn on these tree schoolers quite yet, but there is proof that you are never too young or too old to have an impact and even the tiniest hands can make a huge difference. >> it's a message of hope. it's something each person on this earth can do to help reverse climate change. there's two dozen three-year-olds to four-year-olds to help us do that. if a three-year-old to four-year-old can do it, what's your excuse? kristen:
and we will take you inside a home restaurant in the bay area. we will be here every day at 3:00, answering your questions. see you back here at tonight, an explosive day in court. kyle rittenhouse taking the stand in his own defense. at one point, breaking down in the courtroom. rittenhouse describing the moments he opened fire, claiming one of the member he shot and killed threatened to kill him. but the prosecutor pressing rittenhouse, who came to kenosha and was armed with an ar-15. did he expect to be in danger by going to kenosha? and the other moment making news, when the judge lashes out at the prosecution for something he believed they were about to do. >> don't get brazen with me. >> tonight, the defense calling for a mistrial and what the judge is saying about that. also tonight, the