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L.A. community colleges to require COVID-19 vaccination or regular testing for students and staff

L.A. community colleges to require COVID-19 vaccination or
regular testing for students and staff 1

The Los Angeles Community College District will require proof of vaccination or regular testing for students and faculty members during the fall semester. The use of masks will continue to be required — a policy throughout Los Angeles County as coronavirus cases continue to rise due to the Delta variant.

The logistics for the vaccination policy at the nine campuses are still being hashed out, LACCD spokesperson William Boyer said, but students and faculty members will have the option to get tested. Vaccination status will not prevent anyone from enrolling, working at or attending campus. Systemwide enrollment in the LACCD was about 230,000 in the most recent data available, from the 2019-20 school year.

“In general, if employees or students do not want to get vaccinated or do not want to share that information, then in order to access the colleges or District, they would have to provide proof of a current negative C-19 test,” Boyer told The Times. Testing frequency will probably be weekly.

The Long Beach Community College District similarly announced last week that it would require proof of vaccination or regular testing.

“The majority of LBCC’s student population falls between the ages of 18-35, and this is the population that is being hit the hardest by the COVID-19 Delta variant,” said Uduak-Joe Ntuk, president of the board of trustees.

The LACCD previously said that it would refrain from enforcing a vaccination mandate until the Food and Drug Administration granted final approval — something that has not yet occurred.

The University of California and California State University systems have taken a stricter stance and announced last month that vaccinations would be required of all students and staff members, with testing alternatives offered to those with medical or religious exemptions.

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Unlike UC and Cal State, decisions around vaccination requirements within the California Community Colleges network lie with each local district. The community college chancellor’s office has “urged all local districts to exercise their authority,” spokesperson Rafael Chavez said.

A May advisory from the community college system acknowledged that although individual districts will decide whether to implement a vaccine requirement, several factors should be weighed in the decision.

“District officials will want to consider how the risks and benefits of a vaccine requirement should be weighed against a number of factors, including administrative burdens, enforcement, the campus population, enrollment, collective bargaining, the availability of other safety measures, and the views of campus stakeholders,” the advisory states.

It was not immediately clear how many of the state’s 116 community college districts have announced a vaccine policy.

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