UPDATED: The Los Angeles Board of Education has voted to require all eligible Los Angeles Unified School District students age 12 and over be vaccinated against Covid-19 to attend in-person classes unless they have a qualified and approved exemption under LAUSD’s existing immunization policies.
The ruling came just hours after county health officials announced there had been nearly 9,000 school-related Covid cases in the first few weeks of school.
PREVIOUSLY: The Los Angeles County Board of Education will consider on Thursday a proposal that would require all eligible students age 12 and over in the L.A. Unified School District to get vaccinated. The requirement would pertain to those students wishing to attend in-person classes.
The board has called a special meeting for 2 p.m. Thursday to consider the mandate. According to the agenda, the proposal would require “COVID-19 vaccinations for all students who access in-person instructional programs operated on district facilities, who are 12 years of age and older.”
People under age 12 are ineligible for Covid vaccines since none of the currently available products have been approved for use on that age group. The Pfizer vaccine is approved on an emergency use basis for people aged 12-15, and it has full authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for people 16 and over.
Details about the district’s proposed student vaccine mandate — including a planned start date for the requirement – were not immediately available.
United Teachers Los Angeles, the union representing LAUSD teachers, recently announced its support for a vaccine mandate for students. The district already requires weekly COVID testing for students and employees, regardless of their vaccination status.
The move comes about 10 days after more than 5,200 Covid cases were detected among K-12 students in Los Angeles County in a two weeks period. L.A. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer called the count “sobering.”
According to figures released by the county Wednesday, 5,207 infections were identified among students in the county between Aug. 15-29 — along with 729 cases among school staff. That puts the total number of cases in L.A. schools at 6,000.
But Ferrer and county schools superintendent expressed confidence in safety measures being taken on campuses.
“We average about 500 cases a day (among students) across L.A. County,” she said. “The largest portion of those cases are identified through routine screening, and these are really people who are in fact asymptomatic. So it’s a sobering number because it’s large, but it’s actually helpful to be able to identify people who are infected with Covid before they show symptoms and before they have lots of opportunities…to go ahead and spread that virus.”
City News Service contributed to this report.