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95% of teachers meet COVID-19 vaccination deadline, union says

95% of teachers meet COVID-19 vaccination deadline, union
says 1

About 95% of Los Angeles teachers union members have met the school district’s Friday deadline to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the union announced Thursday evening.

The teachers union represents more than 30,000 teachers, nurses, counselors and librarians. The vaccine requirement applies to all Los Angeles Unified employees — about 73,000 — as well as parent volunteers and district contractors who work on campus. Employees of district-authorized charter schools also must comply.

It is unclear how many of the remaining 5% of teachers union members, about 1,500 school employees, have received vaccine exemptions for medical or religious reasons. Anyone without at least one vaccine dose will be prohibited from campus on Monday, potentially disrupting the continuity of classroom education.

The union did not comment on the issue on Thursday.

The school district has declined to release information about how many employees have requested or received either a medical or religious exemption. The district also has declined to release information on how many have fulfilled the vaccination requirement — either in total numbers or by job category.

In an internal communication, the union told its unvaccinated members not to assume they could transfer to the largely online City of Angels program and work remotely.

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“Employees without accommodations who do not receive at least one dose of the vaccine by Oct. 15 will not be able to teach in the City of Angels online program,” the communication said. “Only members who receive accommodations, along with volunteers/transfers from school sites who are vaccinated, can be assigned to the City of Angels program.”

The union emphasized the importance of following through either by uploading documentation or getting a first shot.

“If you have been vaccinated but not yet provided proof to LAUSD, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible,” the union stated. “Employees who do not provide proof of at least one dose of the vaccine will not be allowed on any LAUSD school or worksite after Oct. 15 and will be subject to termination unless they’ve received a medical or religious accommodation.”

In late September, district officials reported that about 1 in 5 employees had not yet submitted proof of vaccination. At the time, the deadline for full vaccination — two weeks after the final shot — was Friday, Oct. 15. This week, however, Interim Supt. Megan K. Reilly extended the deadline. But employees still had to get a first shot — of any vaccine authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — by the original deadline, with full vaccination required by Nov. 15.

Local 99 of Service Employees International Union, which represents most non-teaching employees, including large numbers of lower-wage workers, pushed for the extension in contract negotiations. Early this week, the union estimated that about 80% of its 21,648 members at L.A. Unified “have a record of vaccination” for at least one dose, spokeswoman Blanca Gallegos said. Its members include food service workers, custodians, bus drivers and special education assistants.

The school district will provide vaccine clinics on Friday during school hours for employees who still need the vaccine. Locations include: Irvine Middle School, Roosevelt High School, Sutter Middle School, Markham Middle School, Bancroft Middle School and Webster Middle School.

L.A. Unified students 12 and older have a different timeline, but also must be vaccinated in the coming weeks. A parent has filed litigation over that requirement.

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