LAUSD delays enforcing student COVID vaccine mandate

The Los Angeles Unified School District’s student COVID-19 vaccine mandate will be delayed until next year, authorities announced Tuesday.

The move aligns the nation’s second-largest school district with the state of California, which earlier announced it will delay Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate for schoolchildren until 2023.

Previously, LAUSD planned to enforce the mandate for COVID-19 vaccines next fall.

The L.A. Unified Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously approved the delay, which was recommended by L.A. Unified’s new superintendent, Alberto Carvalho.

Carvalho cited high vaccination rates among students 12 and older, low virus transmission rates on campuses and LAUSD’s COVID-19 safety measures in recommending pushing the vaccine requirement to July 1, 2023.

“Today’s vote shows that we are a science-based school district, and the health and safety protocols we adopt are influenced by the expert advice of our medical partners and public health officials,” Carvalho said in a statement. “We know that students do best when learning in the classroom with their peers. Due to the high vaccination rates among students 12 and older, low transmission rates in our schools and our nation-leading safety measures, we have preserved in-person learning in the safest possible environment.”

The delay only affects students. The requirement for L.A. Unified employees remains in place.

So far, about 78% of LAUSD students age 12 and older have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Los Angeles Times reported.

And all employees who are assigned to schools are vaccinated.

“Today’s decision demonstrates that as circumstances change and evolve, the District will continue to make decisions about student safety and well-being in consultation with leading health experts and that are rooted in science,” Board President Kelly Gonez said.

Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said that the majority of the district’s students and staff are already vaccinated, and the action Tuesday will ensure that students continue to receive a safe and consistent education.

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