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Thousands in LA Schools May Have to Enroll Elsewhere

44K students haven't proven they've had COVID vaccine, and mandate deadline looms
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2021 1:50 PM CST
44K Students Haven't Yet Met LAUSD Vaccine Mandate
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Irina Velichkina)

(Newser) – In the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-biggest school district in the US, nearly 80% of students look set to comply with its mandate requiring students ages 12 and older to be vaccinated against COVID by Jan. 10, per district officials. On the flip side, that still leaves about 44,000 of the 225,000 eligible students still not in compliance, by the Los Angeles Times' estimate—and if they're not vaxxed by then, or have a medical exemption or hard-to-get extension in hand, they'll have to enroll somewhere else.

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Sunday was the district's deadline for kids to get their first shot, leaving enough time for the three-week wait between the first and second Pfizer-BioNTech shot that kids ages 12 to 17 are eligible for, then another two weeks to achieve full immunity before the spring semester begins. The Times notes that kids receiving the vaccine as late as the first week of December could still theoretically make the Jan. 10 deadline, and students who are already 18 could get the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to achieve full vaccination in just two weeks' time.

School officials are hoping that more vaccination proof starts rolling in as parents realize the window is closing. For those who don't offer up that proof, though, they'll either have to sign their kids up elsewhere or have them transfer to City of Angels, LA's already short-staffed independent study program that allows for online learning. The program has 16,000 current students, and thousands more could prove a massive burden. The Los Angeles Daily News reports that the school district has already been hit with at least two lawsuits over the mandate. "Parents are gathering up. ... We will not comply," one recent caller to a recent LA Unified school board meeting declared. "This is not LAUSD's decision," another parent told the board, per NBC Los Angeles. (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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