(LOS ANGELES) – The Los Angeles Public School District Education Council has approved the postponement of its COVID-19 vaccine mandate until the fall, as thousands of students in the second largest district schools in the country remain non-compliant.
Under the mandate, which the board adopted in September, all students aged 12 and over were required to be fully immunized by January 10, 2022, to be allowed on school campuses for the second semester, unless they were not. ‘have an approved exemption or extension of time. .
Currently, more than 87% of eligible students are in compliance with the mandate, Los Angeles Unified Acting Superintendent Megan Reilly said at Tuesday’s board meeting, calling it a “major milestone.”
Some 27,000 students are not in compliance with the mandate because it is too late to complete the two-dose vaccine series to be fully immunized by the January deadline.
According to Reilly’s proposal, the transfer of non-compliant students to the distance learning program will be delayed until the start of the fall semester 2022.
“It gives families more time to get this vaccine,” Reilly said ahead of the board vote. “This effort remains a top priority for Los Angeles Unified. We will continue to engage students and families around the importance of vaccines and participation timelines for in-person learning. We will improve immunization rates for eligible students. and we will continue to provide a cohesive and stable learning environment and access to vital resources. “
Most board members said they were reluctant to vote for postponing the implementation of the immunization mandate, although they did so to limit disruption to in-person learning in the country. middle of the school year.
“I will support this as it delivers on our promise to vaccinated students in our district not to unnecessarily disrupt their education,” said Board member Jackie Goldberg. “To be clear, we’re not straying an inch from the mandate. Not an inch, not a centimeter. We’re just saying you now have more time to do it because we want you all to be vaccinated and safe. And so do we. I don’t want failure to be vaccinated to disrupt the education of those who comply. “
Board chairman Kelly Gonez said voting for the postponement “is not a decision I’m happy to make.”
“But like my fellow board members, I am very excited about the progress of our vaccination,” she continued. “I believe this council made the unequivocal right decision in September, and it made our schools safer, it made our communities as a whole safer, and it saved lives.”
The vote came a day after a Los Angeles Superior Court judge dismissed two groups of parents’ request for a preliminary injunction against the student’s vaccination warrant, according to the Daily News from Los Angeles.
The school district had also required staff to receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by November 15, unless there are exemptions due to disability or religious beliefs.
During its Tuesday meeting, board members also approved the extension of the district student and employee vaccination policy to all district authorized charter schools in order to maintain a vaccination policy. consistent.
The school district is one of the few nationwide to have implemented immunization mandates. The policies preceded California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement in October that the state will require COVID-19 vaccines for all schoolchildren ages 12 to 17 once the Federal Drug Administration grants full approval. State policy includes personal exemptions, not just religious or medical.
“So families have a lot of leeway to make decisions,” Newsom said Hello america Last week. “LA is a little different, and obviously we’ll have to fix that with this district.”
“You have to work to adapt, and I have every confidence in the world to which the school board will strive to adapt,” he added.
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