Covid News: L.A. School System Is Expected to Issue Student Vaccination MandateSeptember 9, 2021
Here’s what you need to know:
Los Angeles is poised to become the first major school district in the United States to mandate coronavirus vaccines for students 12 and older who are attending class in person.
The district’s elected Board of Education will meet Thursday afternoon to vote on the measure, which is expected to pass with broad support. The Los Angeles Unified School District is the second largest in the nation, serving over 600,000 students, and the mandate could set an important national precedent.
Students would need their first vaccine dose by Nov. 21 and their second by Dec. 19 to begin the next semester fully inoculated. Those who turn 12 after those dates will have 30 days after their birthday to receive their first shot.
Students participating in in-person extracurricular activities will need both shots by the end of October. The resolution mentions “qualified and approved exemptions,” but does not offer details.
The district offers online independent study for those who opt out of in-person learning this year, but so far, only a tiny percentage of students have chosen it.
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Health, 58 percent of the district’s 12-to-18-year-olds have already received at least one vaccine dose.
“Our goal is to keep kids and teachers as safe as possible and in the classroom,” said Nick Melvoin, a Los Angeles school board member, in a written statement expressing support for the resolution. “A medical and scientific consensus has emerged that the best way to protect everyone in our schools and communities is for all those who are eligible to get vaccinated.”
Initial data on infections at Los Angeles schools this year has been reassuring. According to a Los Angeles Times tracker based on district data, 1,620 active Covid-19 cases had been identified at schools as of Sept. 6; only five were linked to on-campus transmissions, at two schools.
While it is typically states, not individual districts, that are responsible for school vaccine mandates, the Culver City school system, a small district also in Los Angeles County, announced a student mandate last month, and other California districts are considering similar requirements. Legal challenges are likely.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved vaccines on an emergency basis for children ages 12 to 15, but is expected to grant full approval in the coming weeks, which could pave the way for more school mandates.
President Biden is expected on Thursday to impose new vaccination mandates as part of a broad plan to put pressure on private businesses, federal agencies and schools to enact stricter vaccination and testing policies as the Delta variant continues its spread across the…