LOS ANGELES (AP) – Students 12 and older who are part of the Los Angeles school system will need to be vaccinated before they can return to classrooms next year, in what is one of the most anti-COVID-19 measures strict rules that have been implemented in the country.
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board voted Thursday to require all of its nearly 630,000 students to be vaccinated – those who play sports and curricular activities by the end of October and the rest by December 19. .RELATED
Students who cannot present proof of vaccination will not be able to attend face-to-face classes at the end of winter break, on January 11. They will have to work remotely in the LAUSD independent study program.
So far there are about 80,000 students who are not fully vaccinated, according to district officials.
“This measure is not about violating anyone’s rights,” said school board member Monica Garcia. “This measure is about doing what’s right to be able to offer public schools that children can go to and be safe.”
The second largest school district in the country will be the largest and one of the few with such a requirement. Culver City, also in California, imposed a similar policy last month for its 7,000 students.
The New York City school system, the largest in the country, has only required vaccinations for its 20,000 students who play sports considered high risk of contagion, such as wrestling.
Los Angeles has been more aggressive than most districts in establishing safety measures against COVID-19. It performs diagnostic tests on all its students and employees every week, requires the use of masks in open and closed spaces and has ordered vaccinations among its employees.
LAUSD was one of the last among the nation’s largest districts to resume face-to-face classes last spring. The teachers union opposed the measure for months over health concerns.
The union praised the guideline, which it had aspired to after all teachers were ordered to be vaccinated.
“COVID-19 is mutating, it is being transmitted to our students and vaccines continue to be the best line of defense for our community to prevent the continued spread of the disease,” said Cecily Myart-Cruz, president of United Teachers of Los Angeles. .
Nearly three-quarters of the district’s student population is Latino, and many of them are poor. Among adults, poor Latinos are vaccinated at a lower rate than the state average.
Los Angeles County saw an increase in coronavirus infection rates in children between mid-July and mid-August, but those numbers have declined since then, said Barbara Ferrer, director of the county’s department of Public Health.