The Los Angeles Unified School Board has announced it will delay its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students until fall 2022, citing concerns with tens of thousands of students who would have been banned from attending school in person.
Interim Superintendent Megan Reilly revealed the plan on Friday, noting more than 28,000 students who had not yet complied in time for the spring semester, according to the Los Angeles Times.
News Release: Due to High Vaccination Rates, District to Discuss Delaying Transfer of Students Not in Compliance with Vaccine Requirement to Online Instruction Until Fall 2022 https://t.co/MgDV655uyo
— Los Angeles Unified (@LASchools) December 10, 2021
According to the previous plan, students 12 years old and older would be required to shift to remote learning. The massive shift would have overwhelmed the district, according to the report.
“I felt like we were ending up with a situation in which those who complied would be the most negatively affected,” school board member Jackie Goldberg told the Times. “I think we have no choice.”
The new plan instead includes massive testing, including weekly testing of all students and staff during January.
“Los Angeles Unified will also require baseline and weekly testing of all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, through the month of January. Starting in February, only students without proof of vaccination will be required to test regularly,” the district’s report said.
The report also noted more than 86% of students 12 and older have already been vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Los Angeles Unified applauds the 86.52 percent of students aged 12 and older and their families who are in compliance with the vaccine mandate, and the many other families who are still in the process of adding their vaccine records to the system. This is a major milestone, and there’s still more time to get vaccinated!” the school announced.
Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on October 1 that his state would be the first to require eligible students in private and public schools to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to be able to go to school in person. The mandate would go into effect once the vaccines have been approved fully, not merely granted emergency use authorization.
According to KFI News in Los Angeles, “The governor is directing the California Department of Public Health to add the COVID vaccine to other vaccinations required for in-person learning.”
Several school districts have pushed back on the statewide vaccine mandate for students. The Daily Wire previously reported:
Last month, the “Happy Valley Union School Board voted 3-1 to defy California’s vaccine mandate for teachers and students,” per ABC 7 KRCR.
“Superintendent Shelly Craig is the principal of Happy Valley Elementary School and said she did not have enough information to accurately answer questions about how defiance of the mandate will affect Happy Valley Schools, state funding, or how kids will be kept safe from COVID-19,” the local outlet noted at the time.
The district is not the only one in the state to push back against the governor’s decision.
“The board announced its decision to parents via Facebook. The vote applies to both students and staff. The board also moved to put the topics of mask mandates and testing protocols for COVID-19 on the agenda for the board’s upcoming meeting on November 23,” The Daily Wire noted.
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