The Los Angeles Unified School District’s board of education is poised to require that students ages 12 and older be vaccinated for COVID-19 if they want to attend classes in-person.
School board members are set to vote on the proposed mandate in a special meeting Thursday. If they approve it, LAUSD would be by far the largest school district in the nation to impose such a requirement. The move could potentially invite legal challenges — but it could also pave the way for other districts to follow suit.
While the issue of vaccines has been divisive across the country, in Los Angeles, there appears to be enough support for the proposal to pass. Through staff members, a majority of the board’s members confirmed their support of a student vaccination mandate.
“Our goal is to keep kids and teachers as safe as possible and in the classroom,” board member Nick Melvoin said in a written statement. “A medical and scientific consensus has emerged that the best way to protect everyone in our schools and communities is for all those who are eligible to get vaccinated. This policy is the best way to make that happen.”
LAUSD already requires all faculty and staff to be vaccinated as a condition of their employment with the district — a step further than the state, which allows staff who refuse to get the shots to take regular COVID-19 tests instead.
In K-12 school settings countywide, between August 15-29, there were 5,207 COVID cases among students and 729 staff cases reported, with the vast majority occurring at LAUSD, which tests everyone weekly. The L.A. County Health Department does not report the number of school cases by age group.
Last month, neighboring Culver City Unified became the first school district in California, if not the nation, to enact its own student vaccination mandate.