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Students ages 12 and older enrolled in the nation’s second-largest public school district could soon be subject to mandatory vaccinations.
As the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday, five of the seven Los Angeles Board of Education members “appear at least to be leaning toward” requiring eligible students be vaccinated against COVID-19. The article said “a clear majority…either favor or lean toward” implementing a new policy.
The revelation comes after the largest teachers union in L.A. recently dropped its demand that all schoolkids “achieve full vaccination no later than 12 weeks following the birthday in which they become eligible” to get the shots. Union leadership, however, made clear that they “continue to support a vaccine requirement for all eligible students” who have not been granted religious or medical exemptions. District officials told The Times last week that the union’s demand was inappropriate for the bargaining table, but the board would still consider such a mandate.
School board member Jackie Goldberg, who is also a member of the Democratic Socialists of America’s L.A. chapter, told The Times, “Personally I think we should do so as soon as possible,” adding, “Life would be almost normal.”
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) serves more than 600,000 K-12 students at over 1,000 schools.
Board President Kelly Gonez acknowledged that a vaccine requirement would likely face legal challenges and pushback from parents. She reportedly said the board could make a decision relatively soon, but if passed, several factors would determine when a new policy might take effect, including education and outreach efforts.
More details from the Times:
People 12 and older have been eligible, under a federal emergency authorization, to receive the vaccine in L.A. County for nearly four months, but many have not. As of Aug. 29, 48% of county residents 12 to 15 years old and 57% of residents ages 16 to 17 were fully vaccinated. In the 12-to-17 age group, hospitalization rates were 10 times higher among the unvaccinated than among the fully vaccinated, according to research highlighted this month by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
LAUSD implemented strict coronavirus protocols in preparation for returning to in-person instruction on August 16. As The Daily Wire previously reported, Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly informed parents of a new policy in July requiring every student, teacher, and staff member returning to campus take part in weekly COVID-19 testing, regardless of vaccination status. The district has also ordered all employees to be fully vaccinated by October 15. In addition, indoor and outdoor mask mandates are in place on campuses. Last week, LAUSD launched mobile vaccination clinics last week with plans to send teams to every middle and high school campus to offer first and second Pfizer doses to eligible students and employees.