LAUSD mandates vaccines

It becomes the largest school district in the U.S. to require students to be vaccinated


Students line up to get tested for COVID-19 before school at Palisades Charter High School.

Natalie Cosgrove

The governing board of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) announced that all eligible students, 12 and older, are required to receive the vaccine to attend schools within the district. The Los Angeles public school district is the first major district in the United States (U.S.) to enforce a vaccine mandate, according to ABC 7 Eyewitness News.

The announcement was released in a report administered by the Board of Education. LAUSD is the second-largest school district in the U.S. Students are expected to receive their first dose no later than Nov. 21, 2021 and to be fully vaccinated by 2022.

“In light of the effectiveness and safety of the COVID-19 vaccines, the CDC, CDPH, and LACDPH have deemed the vaccine appropriate by unanimously recommending that all eligible persons be vaccinated, including children 12 years of age and older,” the report said. “Accordingly, although LAUSD has implemented the highest safety measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 at schools, vaccination of all eligible and non-exempt students provides the strongest protection to the health and safety of all students and staff in the LAUSD school communities.”

Students in extracurricular programs are required to be vaccinated slightly earlier, by Oct. 3. Palisades Charter High School student and soccer player Arielle Hatton ’22 said she is excited to feel more comfortable with the rest of her team and peers now that they have to be vaccinated.

“We have the in-school mask mandates, but lots of people wear their masks nonchalantly, either below their noses or not at all,” Hatton said. “It is a little bit rough because I do really want to see them and have that in-person interaction with them, but I don’t want to risk the safety of my family and other friends, so I have been having this internal struggle. I think that this will make me feel safe on a social and professional level at school.”

In addition, all LAUSD employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 15. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved the vaccine for the 12 to 15 age group, so some parents have protested the decision, according to CBS Los Angeles.

Grace Kosten ’22 said that although the announcement does not directly impact her, it is a positive representation of the school system’s progression in terms of the pandemic as a whole.

“If you ask me how the vaccine has impacted us, you’ll be asking me how the pandemic has impacted us,” Kosten said. “For the sake of others, mandating vaccines in school both teaches the efficacy of factually-proven science and allows children to be present and together in their most formative years. Separate values aside, this is a definite signal that society is now progressing in the right way concerning the pandemic, vaccines and science, are a wholly good thing.”