State Watch

Los Angeles school board to vote on vaccine mandate for students


The Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest in the U.S., introduced a resolution on Thursday that if passed would require all eligible students to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The school district scheduled a special meeting to vote on a potential vaccine mandate on Thursday.

Per the district’s proposed action, students 12 and older who are participating in in-person extracurricular activities would be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 31. All students in general would be required to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 19, receiving their first dose of a vaccine by Nov. 21.

Most COVID-19 vaccines currently have emergency use authorization for children aged 12-15. Pfizer’s vaccine is fully approved for people aged 16 and older. Students who are currently under the age of 12 would be required to be fully vaccinated about two months after their 12th birthday.

The Los Angeles school district currently operates more than 1,200 schools in the Los Angeles area. The measure would affect a large percentage of the more than 600,000 students currently enrolled in the district’s Pre-K through adult education programs.

In the proposal, the office of interim superintendent Megan Reilly pointed to the skyrocketing rate of pediatric hospitalizations in recent months.

“With the return to full-time, in-person instruction for all students choosing to return to LAUSD school facilities for the 2021-22 school year, continued high COVID-19 transmission rates due to the surge of the Delta variant and high rates of cases among school age children due to transmission, vaccination of all eligible and nonexempt students provides the strongest protection to the health and safety of all students and staff in the LAUSD school communities,” Reilly’s office said in its proposal.

Numerous businesses like airlines, hospitals and other drug manufacturers have moved to implement vaccine mandates in light of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine gaining full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last month.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, the majority of school board members members have indicated that they will approve the measure. The newspaper noted the school board would not have scheduled a special meeting if it was not highly likely that the measure would pass.

“Personally I think we should do so as soon as possible,” school board member Jackie Goldberg said, according to the Times.

Fellow board member Scott Schmerelson pointed out that students are already required to get certain vaccines to attend school.

“We are living in a global pandemic, so if a vaccine can save and protect a student’s life, how is requiring students that are eligible for the vaccine any different than what is already being done?” said Schmerelson.

Los Angeles-area teacher unions have previously voiced support for vaccine mandates, including them in their demands during negotiations.

Tags California COVID-19 vaccine COVID-19 vaccine mandate Los Angeles Unified School District

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