LAUSD announces vaccine mandate for all eligible students

September 17, 2021

In September, 56 DPMHS students responded to a survey about their vaccine status.
(Valeria Luquin)

Los Angeles Unified School District is the first district in the country to require eligible students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Non-vaccinated students who do not get the vaccine by Jan. 10, 2022 will not be permitted to enter campus.

“I do support my colleagues on the Board of Education in supporting this resolution,” school board member Scott Schmerlson said in an interview. “I believe that this is the way to help us avoid anyone else getting sick with COVID-19.”

Schmerlson did not participate in the vote due to his financial investment in Pfizer Biotech, the company that makes the vaccine for those under 18 years old. It would be unethical for Schmerlson to vote on this resolution. However, he did clarify that he is all for the mandate. As of Aug. 30, vaccinated students who’ve been in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case in school do not have to be quarantined if they are asymptomatic and show proof of a negative test. On Sept. 11, Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) parents and faculty were informed that there was a recent positive COVID-19 test amongst the students. Those who have been in possible close contact with the student were informed and required to quarantine for a minimum of 10 days unless vaccinated. 

DPMHS has a mobile vaccination unit that will be on campus on Sept. 28, for dose one and Oct. 19 for dose two. Petrossian mentioned that there are several students who have received their vaccine, yet have not uploaded the vaccination information onto their Daily Pass.

“Many of our kids are already vaccinated,” Petrossian said. “I would say around 80-100% of our faculty are vaccinated.”

Sophomore Daniel Hernandez feels that mandating the vaccine is the best option because not only will it stop the spread of COVID-19, it will also make him feel safer attending school on-campus.

“I feel concerned about going to school sometimes knowing that some students aren’t vaccinated,” Hernandez said. “Especially when there are different variants now, it’s concerning.”

LAUSD’s goal is to safely continue on-campus learning for students while maintaining students and families’ health as their top priority. Schools will continue to require daily screenings, mask coverage, COVID-19 testing and consistent hygiene care. All LAUSD faculty and staff must be vaccinated by Oct. 15. 

“I don’t want anyone in our schools to go home and pass on COVID-19 to members at their homes,” Schmerlson said. “Vaccinating everyone in the family is the only way we will be able to protect ourselves.”

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