Education

First Major School District Mandates Vaccines For Students 12 And Older

(Photo by ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

Nicole Silverio Contributor
Font Size:

A Los Angeles school district became the first to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for all students ages 12 and older after a school board’s vote Thursday.

In a 6-0 decision, the Los Angeles Board of Education passed the mandate titled “Superintendent’s Resolution Requesting The Board of Education of the Los Angeles Unified School District to Require COVID-19 Vaccination for Eligible Students” for all students ages twelve and older attending in-person classes for the 2021-22 school year, according to the Board’s record.

The school enrolls approximately 600,000 students from Pre-K-Grade 12 and operates around 1,200 schools in the district, according to the document. The Board argued that adolescent hospitalizations were 10x higher amongst the unvaccinated.

The interim superintendent, Megan Reilly, said that vaccination is one of the main ways that in-person learning can remain open, The New York Times reported.

Nick Melvoin, a Board of Education member, said that roughly 60 percent of parents and guardians that have reached out to him have criticized the board’s decision to enact the mandate, the Times reported. He expressed his concern about the vaccine requirement pushing families to return to virtual learning or enroll in a charter or private school.

A 29-year-old mother, Angelica Ramos, told the outlet she will either enroll her children in a charter school or home-school them in order to prevent vaccinating them, arguing that the mandate should be the family’s decision rather than the school’s.

“It shouldn’t be mandatory,” Ramos said. “It should be our decision.” (RELATED: Over 100 Students Removed From College’s Fall Semester Roster After Not Complying With Vaccine Mandate) 

Currently, three percent of students have opted for virtual learning for the school year and will attend the district’s online independent study, according to the outlet.

Reopen California Schools, which previously sued California in opposition to mask mandates, argued that several legal challenges will be brought forth against the mandate and that vaccines do not guarantee “sterilizing immunity,” which can lead children to get infected with COVID, according to the outlet.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported that 58 percent of 12 to 18-year-olds have currently received one dose of the vaccine. The data revealed that a total of 305,597 kids ages 12-15 and 172,867 16-17-year-olds have received one dose of the vaccine.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not fully approved the vaccine for children 12-15 years of age besides Pfizer on an emergency basis, according to the Times. Public health experts, including Vinay Prasad, warned that the shot disproportionately affects young men in developing a heart condition called myocarditis.

“There are unintended consequences from doing this, but if you’re going to do it, Would strongly suggest they accept one dose,” Prasad tweeted. “The second dose is going to bring a lot of myocarditis. More is at stake than just this one vaccine.”

Students are required to have received at least one dose by Nov. 21 and be fully immunized by Dec. 19, the Board said. Those that turn 12 after that time will be required to receive their first dose vaccine within a 30-day period. However, students participating in extracurricular and after-school activities will need to have both shots by the end of October.

Vaccine mandates have become widespread throughout colleges, universities and workplaces throughout the year. President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the administration is developing a new policy that all businesses consisting of at least 100 employees will be required to pass a vaccine mandate or regularly test them.