According to Associated Press, students age 12 and older in the Los Angeles public school system soon must be vaccinated to attend classes on campus under one of the toughest anti-COVID mandates enacted in the nation.
The board of the Los Angeles Unified School District voted Thursday to require students age 12 and up to be fully vaccinated, with those who take part in sports and other extracurricular activities receiving both of two shots by the end of October and all others by Dec, 19.
Students who can’t show proof of vaccination won’t be permitted to have in-person learning following the end of winter break on Jan. 11 unless they have a medical or other exemption.
“This action is not about violating anybody’s rights,” school board member Monica Garcia said. “This action is about doing our job to be able to offer public schools that children can come to school and be safe.”
The nation’s second-largest school district was the largest in the U.S. to issue such a mandate. Nearby Culver City Unified School District imposed a similar policy last month for the 7,000-student district.
Los Angeles Unified, which has 630,000 students, has moved more aggressively than most districts in enacting COVID-19 safety measures. It tests all students and employees every week, requires masking indoors and outdoors, and has ordered employees to be vaccinated.
The district was among the last of the nation’s largest school districts to reopen to classroom instruction last spring. The teachers union opposed the move for months, citing health concerns. The union applauded the new mandate, which is sought after teachers were ordered to get the shots.
“COVID-19 is mutating, being transmitted to our students, and vaccines remain our community’s best line of defense to prevent the continued spread of disease,” said Cecily Myart-Cruz, president of United Teachers Los Angeles.