By Melanie Ibanez
On September 9, The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board approved a Covid vaccine mandate for all eligible students in order to return to campus. This is required for all students aged 12 and older and must be completed before January 10 in order for them to continue attending in-person school.
“Today’s decision furthers our longstanding commitment to ensure the safety of our students, families, and staff,” LAUSD board president Kelly Gonez said on their website. “The vaccine is the single best way to protect students and schools from COVID-19.”
The Pfizer vaccine has been FDA approved and has been proven very effective in creating a safe community. This new mandate is a part of the state’s efforts to protect not only the students, but also staff and LAUSD families.
“I honestly think mandating it for schools is the most efficient way to get people vaccinated,” freshman Gacia Hazarabedian said. “But there will be a lot of parents who don’t want their kids vaccinated, which isn’t always fair to the students who don’t get to choose.”
So far, every school in LAUSD has required students to wear masks, take weekly Covid tests, and complete daily health screenings before entering the campus. The district also requires those who have tested positive or have come in contact with someone sick to quarantine and complete work at home. They also have staff working hard to maintain a clean environment by increasing the sanitization as well as offering better ventilation systems in classrooms.
“The nation’s second-largest school system has moved faster and more comprehensively than most others in testing all students and employees for coronavirus infection every week, requiring masks indoors and outdoors and ordering employees to get vaccinated,” Howard Blume and Melissa Gomez of the LA Times wrote.
The top priority of vaccine admission will be for any students who are participating in any extracurricular activities including sports, band, and drama. These students must get their first dose by October 3 and the second one no later than October 31. The rest of the students are expected to come back from winter break fully vaccinated. There must also be at least a 14 day gap between when they get their second dose and when they return to class.
Now with this decision, there is a better chance to prevent Covid from spreading to families and staff. Although there may be some who are hesitant to receive it, this is not the first time a vaccine has been required in order to attend school. Schools in the U.S. are required to check immunization records for Polio, Hepatitis, Varicella and diphtheria, just to name a few.
“The science is clear – vaccinations are an essential part of protection against COVID-19,” the LAUSD Interim Superintendent, Megan K. Reilly said according to the LA Times.