Coronavirus: LA school officials order vaccine mandate for students 12 and older

LOS ANGELES — Children 12 and older in Los Angeles public schools must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January in order to attend classes in person, school district officials said Thursday.

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The mandate was approved unanimously by the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, the nation’s second-largest school district, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Under the proposal adopted with a 7-0 vote by the board, all students who are at least 12 years old will have to get their first vaccine dose no later than Nov. 21, and their second dose no later than Dec. 19, KTLA reported.

The final day of classes before winter break is Dec. 17, and students return to class on Jan. 11, 2022, the Times reported.

By Jan. 10, proof of vaccination would have to be “uploaded and approved in LAUSD’s Daily Pass program except for those students with qualified and approved exemptions and conditional admissions,” according to the district’s mandate.

Students competing in sports would need to be vaccinated no later than Oct. 3, KTLA reported. A second dose is required no later than Oct. 31, CNN reported.

The Los Angeles Unified School District serves more than 600,000 students at more than 1,000 schools, according to KCBS.

“We’ve always approached safety with a multilayered approach: masks, air filtration and coronavirus screening,” L.A. schools interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly told the Times. “But we are seeing without a doubt that the vaccines are one of the clearest pathways to protecting individuals from getting severe sickness as well as for mitigating transmission of the COVID virus. It is one of the best preventive measures that we have at our disposal to create a safe environment at schools.”

The nation’s largest school system, in New York City, so far as ordered athletes in high-contact sports to begin receiving vaccinations before competition starts, the Times reported. New York and Chicago, which has the nation’s third-largest school district, had required school employees to be vaccinated.

Reilly estimated that about 225,000 students in grades 6 through 12 would qualify under the mandate, the newspaper reported. District officials estimate that roughly 80,000 students have not been vaccinated.

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