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LA School District Is Considering Mandatory Vaccinations for Students 12 & Older

The district is set to become the largest in the country to require all students who are eligible to get vaccinated.

A health worker vaccinates an adolescent girl with the first dose of the Modern vaccine in the City of Arts, on August 16, 2021, in Valencia, Spain.

The Board of Education for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is planning to vote on a proposal Thursday that would require all students 12 years of age or older to get fully vaccinated for protection against COVID-19 by the end of this year.

The proposal would make LAUSD the largest school district in the country to create such a mandate for students.

Children with “qualified and approved exemptions and conditional admissions” would be exempt from the requirements. However, details on what those exemptions would be are not included in the Thursday meeting’s agenda.

The district has been proactive in trying to stem the spread of coronavirus since classes resumed last month. The district tests students and staff each week, requires masks for both indoor and outdoor activities, and already requires all staff to be vaccinated.

According to the proposal being considered, students 12 years or older who are in sports and other extracurriculars would be required to get vaccinated first, needing to get their first dose no later than October 3 and receive the second dose no later than the last day of that month. Those who are not in extracurriculars would have until November 21 to get their first dose and would be required to get their final dose no later than December 19.

That schedule would ensure students would be fully vaccinated before the return to classes after the winter break, which begins in mid-December and lasts through the beginning of January. Proof of vaccination would have to be uploaded and approved by the district.

Very few districts across the country have considered implementing such requirements for students so far, although a separate one in Los Angeles County, the Culver City Unified School District, has already announced that it will institute its own vaccination requirements among students 12 years or older.

The decision by Los Angeles schools to require students to be vaccinated may not be too much of a hurdle for parents and students to manage. As of noon local time on Thursday, more than three in five kids (63 percent) in Los Angeles County who are eligible have had at least one vaccine dose, local figures show.

Los Angeles Unified School District is the second-largest school district in the U.S., and its decision to implement vaccine requirements for students could influence other school boards to consider similar measures. There is likely to be significant pushback in other parts of the country to the idea, but polling suggests most Americans are open to vaccine requirements for students in public schools.

An Economist/YouGov poll conducted earlier this month found that 52 percent of Americans think kids who are eligible to be vaccinated should be required to do so in order to attend school. Just 32 percent are opposed to the idea, that poll found.