About 80 percent of students in the Los Angeles Unified School District are on track to comply with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, school officials said Monday, raising concerns about the potential for thousands of students to be expelled from personal classes for start of the spring semester on January 10th.
The number represents significant progress – and officials hope many more students have been vaccinated, but they have simply not yet uploaded documentation to the school district. About 225,000 students 12 years and older fall under the mandate, half of the district enrollment. The current data means that around 44,000 students have not met the deadline.
Sunday was the district’s announced deadline for students to get a first shot, even if they could get a first dose as late as the first week of December and still have enough time to achieve maximum immunity at the beginning of next semester.
“Los Angeles Unified’s first and second dose deadlines for eligible students 12 years and older are designed to ensure students receive the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination before the holiday season,” said District Attorney Shannon Haber. Students are on vacation this week for an extended Thanksgiving break.
“When families upload their vaccination records to our Daily Pass system, we expect the number of vaccinated students to increase when students return to campus on November 29 and as we approach the second dose deadline on December 19, said Haber.
Non-compliant families will need to enroll their children outside of LA Unified or transfer them to the City of Angels program, an independent study program that this year was adapted to include some live online instruction. City of Angels has been plagued by staff shortages and instability. Parents of students with special needs have been particularly saddened by the program’s limitations – and many waited weeks before they could receive any meaningful instruction.
Making deadlines fall earlier than absolutely necessary gives district officials more time to prepare for what could happen. About 16,000 students are currently enrolled in the City of Angels. The possible influx of about 44,000 would have the potential to overwhelm the resources of the City of Angels, as the program is currently structured.
Adherence to the mandate means that students either have an approved medical exemption, have a rarely authorized extension, or have been given a shot. Students 18 years and older can receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with one shot – an option that will only take two weeks to achieve maximum immunity. For the 12 to 17, the only current option is the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, which requires three weeks between doses and then a two-week waiting period to achieve maximum immunity.