The Los Angeles School Committee votes on the vaccination mandate for students

Posted: 09/09/2021 / 8:48 AM MDTUpdated: 09/09/2021 / 8:56 AM MDT

The Los Angeles Education Committee is expected to vote Thursday on whether all students 12 and older must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus to attend classes on campus in the country’s second largest school district.

The proposal, due to be debated at a special afternoon session, would be one of the most aggressive measures any major U.S. school district could take to keep children safe from infection.

The Los Angeles Times reported that in interviews last week, a majority of board members said they are in favor of or tend to require vaccinations.

The Los Angles Unified School District, which enrolls more than 640,000 students from kindergarten through 12th grade, already tests all students and employees every week, requires masking indoors and outdoors and has ordered employees to be vaccinated.

A significant proportion of the district’s students come from low-income families and more than 73% are Latinos, a population that is lagging behind when it comes to vaccination.

The proposal stipulates that students 12 years and older who participate in sports and other activities must receive a first dose of the vaccine by October 3 and a second dose by October 31. All other students aged 12 and over must receive a first dose by November 21st and the second dose by December 19th at the latest.

The last day of classes before the winter break is currently December 17th. Classes will resume on January 11th.

The vote comes as new COVID-19 cases and hospital stays in Los Angeles county have declined, but the transmission rate remains high, according to the county’s Department of Health.

“Without a significant increase in the number of eligible vaccinated residents, there is a risk of cases rising this fall and winter as COVID-19 is easily spread among the unvaccinated,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a Declaration on Wednesday.

The health department reported on September 1 that between August 15 and August 21, unvaccinated adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 had an eightfold risk of infection than those who were vaccinated.

“The strongest strategy to keep schools open is to increase vaccination rates as quickly as possible,” a ministry statement said at the time.

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