The Los Angeles Unified School Board approved a mandate that requires all students in the district ages 12 and up to be vaccinated against COVID-19 during a special meeting on Thursday.
The mandate, which was proposed last month following an increase in COVID-19 delta variant cases in LA, a rise in COVID rates amongst children, and a similar mandate being enacted in neighboring Culver City, is now the largest of it’s kind among school systems in the nation. The new mandate also comes less than a month after the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced mandatory vaccinations for all school teachers and staff in the state.
According to the mandate, which affects more than 600,000 school children and teenagers in Los Angeles public schools, included an estimate 80,000 eligible students currently not vaccinated, all students ages 12 and up must get their first COVID-19 vaccine doses by November 21st, and their second doses by December 19th. Students in extracurricular activities, namely athletics, have earlier dose deadlines of October 3rd and October 31st for first and second doses respectively. In total, all teachers and staff must be completely vaccinated by October 15th, a students in extra circulars must be vaccinated by October 31st, and all students need to be vaccinated completely by the time the second semester starts on January 12, 2022.
Students with qualified and approved exemptions would not need to vaccinate. Although the Board did not name what those are specifically, based on other mandates, they are likely for medical and religious reasons. Students turning 12 must also get their first vaccination dose within 30 days of their birthday, and their second within 8 weeks of their birthday.
The mandate did not say what would happen to students who don’t get vaccinated by January, with a final decision on that likely to be made in the following months, with remote classes for the non-vaccinated being the most likely outcome.
Board members defend decision, opponents likely to challenge mandate in courts soon
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