Students in LA School District Must Get COVID-19 Vaccine to Return to Classrooms

January 14, 2021 Updated: January 14, 2021

The 600,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) will have to be vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning to classrooms, school district officials said.

In a pre-recorded briefing first reported by the Los Angeles Times, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said the COVID-19 vaccine mandate would be “no different than students who are vaccinated for measles or mumps.”

While the two vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency usage are only for older teenagers, Beutner did not clarify whether the LAUSD campuses are going to stay closed until vaccines for young children become available. The FDA currently allows the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be used in people over the age of 16, and the Moderna vaccine for those over the age of 18.

Beutner said parents who don’t wish to vaccinate their children will “always have the option for a child to stay in online learning and therefore not have to go back to campus,” the LA Times reported.

He added that he expects all students in the system to be vaccinated by January 2022.

vaccine
Nurse Patti Ward inoculates EMT Jazmin Murillo with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at UMass Memorial Hospital in Marlborough, Mass., on Jan. 12, 2021. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

The announcement comes as LAUSD continues to push against California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed school reopening plan. The school board on Tuesday said that it had authorized the district to sue the Newsom administration over the plan, but said later that it “hoped to avoid the need to seek legal action.”

Under Newsom’s plan, only schools that reopen for in-person learning can get their share of $2 billion in extra funding. Superintendents in California’s major public school districts, joined by powerful teachers’ unions, criticized the plan, and demanded more funding for all schools regardless of whether they decide to reopen.

LAUSD, the nation’s second largest public school district, closed all school buildings and has been exclusively offering online-learning since last March, when California was hit by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus outbreak. The CCP virus causes the COVID-19 disease.

In a statement last month, Beutner didn’t provide a timetable for bringing students back to classrooms, saying that the district was nowhere near reopening for in-person instruction due to the surge in CCP virus infections across Southern California.

“It will not be possible for us to reopen school campuses by the time next semester starts on Jan. 11,” Beutner said in a pre-recorded briefing. “We’ll remain in online-only mode until community health conditions improve significantly.”

Beutner also claimed that 10 percent of students coming in to school-based CCP virus testing sites had tested positive. “One in ten children being tested at schools show no symptoms but have the virus,” he said. “It’s clear we’re a long way from reopening schools with the level of virus this high.”