The Los Angeles County Board of Education voted to postpone its student vaccine mandate for more than one year.
In a May 10 vote, the board delayed requiring students in the Los Angles Unified School District to get the COVID-19 vaccination. It was the first major school district in the United States to enact such a policy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The vaccination mandate will now not go into effect until July 1, 2023.
“Today’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,” Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said in a press release. “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.”
Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson noted that the majority of students and staff who were eligible had received the COVID-19 vaccination and said the school district would continue to provide information and access to the vaccine.
“As the District continues to provide the safest possible environment for our students, staff and families, I support the recommendation to align our student vaccination requirement with the State’s implementation timeline,” Schmerelson said.
Initially, students ages 12 and older were required to be vaccinated by Jan. 10, 2022.
“A medical and scientific consensus has emerged that the best way to protect everyone in our schools and communities is for all those who are eligible to get vaccinated. This policy is the best way to make that happen,” said the board’s Vice President Nick Mevoin in a statement in September 2021.
“This vaccine mandate represents one of the greatest responsibilities we have at this moment to our students and one of the greatest opportunities for the future of our entire community,” added Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin.
In December, the mandate was subsequently delayed until the fall of 2022. At the time, LA Weekly reported that 87% of eligible students had complied with the requirement and the estimated 30,000 students would have had to move to online instruction.
More than 600,000 students are enrolled in LAUSD schools. The board’s vote does not lift the vaccination mandate for teachers and staff members in the district.