Los Angeles Public Schools Canceled Their Vaccine Mandate After 30,000 Kids Were Not Complying.
Faced with the more than 30,000 unvaccinated older students, the Los Angeles Unified School District on Tuesday pushed back the deadline for its COVID-19 vaccine mandate to fall 2022.
Parents in support of the mandate pressed the school board to stand firm, contending a delay would embolden anti-vaccine parents.
“Delaying the deadline would be a terrible mistake,” said Damian Carroll, a father of two district students, ages 15 and 11. Carroll’s wife is a teacher, and the whole family is fully vaccinated.
“Letting parents shirk their responsibility to get their kids vaccinated will only end up punishing the kids and families who took responsible action,” he said in a letter to the board.
Others said a delay is appropriate, considering how many students could be removed from in-person learning midyear. Vaccine hesitancy runs high in communities of color, which means those children would be disproportionately affected.
According to Politico the nation’s second-largest school district which imposed strict vaccine requirements on children 12 and older earlier in September, with almost no exemptions. The district blinked at the last minute, however, as community activists and Gov. Gavin Newsom questioned the idea of moving more than 30,000 unvaccinated students back into distance learning.
Other U.S. districts in blue states are scaling back previous student mandate ideas, too. School leaders in Portland, Ore., tabled discussion this fall amid vigorous pushback, while New York and Chicago have taken a wait-and-see approach. Not only are they wary of mandate critics, but they also question whether they should impose a requirement before the Food and Drug Administration fully approves vaccines for their students — a threshold Los Angeles Unified didn’t wait for.
“Better to get it right than be first!” Portland Public Schools Board Member Julia Brim-Edwards tweeted as she and other leaders delayed a vote in Oregon’s largest district.
Los Angeles has lost about 40,000 students this year who disappeared, disengaged or dropped out and pushing an additional 30,000 out isn’t a smart solution.
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