Los Angeles is expected to become the first major school district in the United States to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all students ages 12 and over who are heading back to classrooms.
The Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest system, is anticipated to approve the mandate during a special 2 p.m. Thursday Board of Education meeting, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Students who take part in extracurricular activities like sports would be prioritized under the proposal — with those 12 and older required to have their first jab by Oct. 3, followed by a second shot by Halloween, the newspaper reported.
All other kids 12 and older in the district of more than 1,000 schools serving 600,000 students would need to receive their first dose by Nov. 21 and a second by Dec. 19 — two days after the final day of classes before winter break, the newspaper reported.
Proof of vaccination then needs to be uploaded into the district’s Daily Pass program by Jan. 10, one day before students are set to return from break.
Only those with “qualified and approved exemptions and conditions” won’t be required to do so, according to the report.
Documented medical reasons could lead to those exemptions, the resolution states. It also orders students to get their first vaccine dose no later than 30 days after their 12th birthday and a second dose eight weeks thereafter.
The resolution notes the recent uptick in coronavirus cases due to the highly contagious Delta variant.
The virus is a “material threat to the health and safety of all students” in the district, as well as to the “successful return” of in-person instruction, according to the resolution obtained by the Times.
The mandate could spark a lawsuit against the district, which has already been sued multiple times due to its COVID-19 safety precautions, according to the Times.
District officials, meanwhile, released a statement to the newspaper Wednesday signaling that the measure was likely to be approved.
“The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education will vote at their next meeting on whether to mandate vaccines for all eligible students,” the district said. “Science clearly shows that vaccinations are an essential part of protecting our communities. Further details will be forthcoming after the vote.”
School board member Nick Melvoin told the Times Wednesday that the goal is to “keep kids and teachers” as safe as possible.
“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,” Melvoin said. This policy is the best way to make that happen.”
Some 60.8 percent of Los Angeles County residents ages 12 to 15 have gotten at least one vaccine dose as of Sept. 2, data shows. Just over 75 percent of all residents 12 and up have received at least one shot.