LAUSD Votes to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine for Students Over 12

By Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
September 9, 2021 Updated: September 10, 2021

The LAUSD Board of Education voted 7–0 on Sept. 9 to require students over the age of 12 to receive a COVID-19 vaccination in order to attend in-person classes in the LA Unified School District (LAUSD).

Students with “qualified and approved exemptions under LAUSD’s existing immunization policies” are exempt from the vaccine requirement, according to the district.

“Today’s decision furthers our longstanding commitment to ensure the safety of our students, families, and staff,” Board President Kelly Gonez said in a statement.

“The vaccine is the single best way to protect students and schools from COVID-19. Los Angeles Unified is committed to meeting our families where they are and providing them with reliable medical information about this safe, effective vaccine.”

First, students who participate in extracurricular activities will be required to get at least one dose of the vaccine by Oct. 3 and are expected to be fully vaccinated by the end of the month. Then, all students over the age of 12 must receive the first dose by Nov. 21 and be fully vaccinated by Dec. 19.

Other students must get their first vaccine dose no later than 30 days after their 12th birthday, and their second dose no later than 8 weeks after their 12th birthday.

Currently, the two-dose Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine to have received emergency approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for 12- to 15-year-olds; it is fully approved for those over 16.

According to the statement, the LAUSD will require proof of vaccination to be uploaded to the LAUSD’s Daily Pass system by Jan. 10. So far, the Daily Pass system has been used to track COVID-19 tests after the LAUSD mandated weekly tests for students and employees regardless of vaccination status in July.

“Eligible students who do not have proof of vaccination against COVID-19 will not be permitted on school campuses and referred to the District’s independent study program at City of Angels,” according to the district’s FAQ page.

The mandate would affect approximately 225,000 middle school and high school students, 80,000 of whom are not yet vaccinated, according to district officials.

LAUSD staff are required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 15.