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More Than 30,000 Students At Risk Of Missing LAUSD's Vaccination Deadline

A table bearing a large sign that reads 'Los Angeles Unified School District Vaccination Station V1 and a smaller sign atop the table reading 'New Patient' is set up in a high school gymnasium. Another longer table with medical supplies is set up alongside it. Workers wearing masks stand behind both tables.
Workers prepare a vaccination station at LAUSD's Panorama High School during a media tour of the campus on March 10, 2021.
(Kyle Stokes
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Some 30,000 students could be on track to miss the Los Angeles Unified School District’s deadline for full vaccination against the coronavirus, according to numbers the district released this week.

As of Dec. 7, just under 85% of students age 12 and older have complied with the district’s vaccine policy. The requirement takes full effect at the end of LAUSD's winter break, five weeks from now — exactly the length of time a student would need to get both doses, plus wait the full two weeks before they’re considered “fully vaccinated.”

Students who aren't fully compliant with the district's policy by Jan. 10, 2022 will not be allowed to attend classes on-campus. The policy allows students to apply for medical excuses, but not personal or religious exemptions. Students in some high-needs groups — including foster children, homeless youth or students with disabilities — can also be granted "conditional admission" without having received their shots.

Even if some of these non-compliant students are, for example, waiting on a second dose, it still appears a significant disruption is looming for thousands of LAUSD students unless the policy changes.

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The only other option available to LAUSD students who cannot attend school in-person is the district's online "independent study" program. The program, known as City of Angels, already has more than 16,000 students enrolled — far higher than the average year — and the district has had trouble finding enough staff to meet demand. Advocates have also sued, saying these programs aren't appropriate for students with disabilities.

Any students hoping for leniency might think twice: LAUSD just fired 496 staffers who didn’t follow a similar mandate for employees. District employees were required to begin the vaccination process by October 15.

What questions do you have about K-12 education in Southern California?
Kyle Stokes reports on the public education system — and the societal forces, parental choices and political decisions that determine which students get access to a “good” school (and how we define a “good school”).