LAUSD Delays Student Vax Mandate Until July 2023
The Los Angeles Unified School District will delay implementation of the student COVID-19 vaccine mandate until at least July 1, 2023. Tuesday’s vote by the school board was held without discussion. It aligns with the state’s new timeline and follows a recommendation for delay from Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
"[Tuesday'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. "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."
“We have high vaccination rates amongst our students 12 years and older and with our employees,” explained LAUSD Medical Director Dr. Smita Malhotra. “We have demonstrated low transmission rates in our schools with few outbreaks. And now, since the beginning of the pandemic, not only do we have the existence of therapeutics to deal with COVID-19, but scientists also have a greater understanding of this virus.”
The delay is only for students. Teachers and staff are still required to be vaccinated.
Los Angeles was the first large district in the nation to announce a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for schools last year. At least initially, the district appeared determined to defend the mandate against legal challenges. But schools are already struggling with enrollment declines, and LAUSD was worried about the prospect of thousands of students from anti-vaccine families ducking out of classes. The state was also expecting full FDA authorization of the vaccine for children and teens by now. When that didn't come to pass, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a delay of the state mandate. LAUSD was under pressure to follow.