LA Unified public schools mandate COVID-19 vaccine for students


Kaelyn Savard

COVID-19 Vaccination mandates could potentially be under way for districts surrounding Los Angeles Unified School District.

Emma Ippolito and Emilie Huovinen

With Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech)  having been in session for almost a month now, some districts are trying to figure out how to continue keeping students and administrators safe from COVID-19 exposure, especially for the un-vaccinated.

Now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, school districts across the United States have begun implementing vaccine requirements for students returning to in-person school.

Following the approval, public schools in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) have now decided to require the vaccine for all eligible students and staff, making them the largest school district to do so.

Mika Anderson, the Bioscience Academy advisor and science teacher here at Foothill Tech is in favor of these mandates. 

We already have mandates for the following: Polio, DTap, MMR, Hep. B and Chickenpox as a requirement to enter public schools,” explains Anderson, “so having a vaccine mandate for COVID-19 makes sense to me, given how dangerous this virus is globally, nationally, statewide and locally.”

LAUSD stated that all un-vaccinated students should receive their first COVID vaccine dose by Nov. 21, 2021 and a second dose by Dec. 19. Their goal is to have all students vaccinated by January 2022.

Anderson also mentioned that, “as the virus replicates and infects people, the higher the chances for mutations.” Because of this, she believes that, “having a COVID vaccine mandate to increase the number of people who are vaccinated in our population is a great idea.”

Students at LAUSD involved in extracurricular activities such as sports and other activities will also now be required to get the first dose by Oct. 3, 2021 and the second dose by Oct. 31 so students can continue doing the activities without shutting down due to virus exposure. 

LAUSD had already mandated vaccination for teachers and staff, required masks to be worn and tested all students and staff weekly and this new mandate for the vaccine is just another attempt to curb the spread. 

The vaccine mandate could potentially slow down the spread, but might be a problem for students who are unwilling to get vaccinated. Anderson stated that it could also be a possibility that, “public schools [suffer] from declining enrollment and the funding that goes along with that and teachers will be let go.”

With the vaccine mandate in LAUSD, many wonder if other school districts will follow suit. As of now, Ventura Unified has released no information regarding vaccine mandates. 

What do you think?