LAUSD to Create New Online Schools Before Vaccine Mandate Takes Effect Fall 2022

By Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
February 28, 2022 Updated: February 28, 2022

LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles Unified School District’s Superintendent Alberto Carvalho confirmed on Feb. 28 the district will create several new online schools in anticipation of an influx of online program enrollment when the district’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate takes effect in the fall.

The six new independent online learning programs have been planned to accommodate students who are unable to attend classes in person or prefer remote learning, as well as unvaccinated students, who will no longer be allowed on campus after the start of the next school year.

About 87 percent of LAUSD students over the age of 12 were vaccinated as of Dec. 2021, meaning potentially more than 34,000 students remain unvaccinated.

The district’s City of Angels online learning program—the district’s only long-term independent study program this year—saw enrollment increase more than 10 times, from almost 1,500 students last school year to more than 17,000 students this school year, according to the district’s Chief of Schools David Baca in a board meeting in early February.

“We anticipate enrollment increasing, not decreasing, so it does cause us to think about planning in a different way—building a leadership structure to support this, even with the students we have right now, 17,900,” Baca said during the meeting. “[These are] sizable needs. That’s all different learning profiles—English learners, students with disabilities, you name it.”

Carvalho said On Feb. 28 he planned to put the COVID-19 relief funds for staff and resources into the new online schools for the first two years, up to $16.2 million per year. After that, the schools will rely on state funding.

The new online schools’ curriculum and programs are still in development but are expected to be announced in the coming weeks, according to EdSource. Enrollment will begin in March, Carvalho said, and each new school will enroll about 2,500 students.

The LAUSD Board of Education approved on Feb. 8—before Carvalho started his new position as the head of LAUSDon Feb. 14—the district’s application for six new online school codes to help shoulder the burden on the City of Angels program, according to a report presented at the board meeting.

“For the 2022-2023 school year and beyond, Los Angeles Unified has an opportunity to pave a new path for TK-12 online learning,” the report continued. “By creating up to six new online schools, students whose parents choose the independent study option will have a variety of quality online school options with the opportunity to select an option that matches their interests.”

A spokesperson for LAUSD did not respond to a request for comment by press deadline.