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Thousands of students in L.A. schools may have to enroll elsewhere after Jan. 10

Close to 80 percent of students in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) are on track to comply with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

This is an image of a child getting the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on November 6, 2021, a few days after the Emergency Use Authorization and CDC decision to allow the vaccine for this age demographic in the U.S. — Source - Nate Ivey, PhD. (CC BY-SA 4.0)
This is an image of a child getting the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on November 6, 2021, a few days after the Emergency Use Authorization and CDC decision to allow the vaccine for this age demographic in the U.S. — Source - Nate Ivey, PhD. (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Close to 80 percent of students in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) – the second largest in the United States – are on track to comply with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, school district officials announced Monday.

While school officials say that substantial progress has been made in getting students vaccinated, this still leaves close to 44,000 of the 225,000 eligible students still not in compliance, according to the Los Angeles Times’ estimate.

Sunday, November 21, was the deadline for students to have received their first vaccine dose, leaving enough time for the three-week wait between the first and second Pfizer-BioNTech shot that kids ages 12 to 17 are eligible for.

This means that students will have another two weeks to achieve full immunity before the spring semester begins on January 10.

Additionally, LAUSD students aged 12 and older who take part in in-person extracurricular programs were required to receive their first dose by Oct. 3 and their second no later than Oct. 31.

In a statement Monday, district officials said they are still calculating final numbers, working to be “responsive to all external vaccination and medical exemptions uploaded over the weekend.” 

“As families upload their vaccination records to our Daily Pass system, we expect the number of vaccinated students to increase once students return to campus on Nov. 29 and as we approach the Dec. 19 second dose deadline,” according to the district.

Families that don’t comply with the vaccine mandate will have to enroll their children outside of L.A. Unified or transfer them to City of Angels, an independent study program that was adapted this year to include some live online instruction.

There are presently about 16,000 students enrolled with City of Angels, and the program is already overwhelmed with staffing shortages, as well as other problems causing some instability, and an influx of thousands of additional students would prove to be a massive problem.

During last week’s Board of Education meeting, parents opposed to the mandate staged a rally outside and others spoke telephonically to the board, saying they should not be forced to vaccinate their children, according to NBC4 Los Angeles.

“You need to stop this nonsense,” one parent told the board, calling the requirement an “unlawful mandate of an unapproved, experimental, investigative, not-yet-proven-to-be-safe” vaccine.

“It is our legal parental right to ensure we make sound health care decisions for our children,” she said. “This is not LAUSD’s decision.” 

Written By

Karen Graham is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for environmental news. Karen's view of what is happening in our world is colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in man's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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