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34,000 L.A. Unified Students Refuse To Comply With Vaccine Mandate, Board Forced To Call Off Deadline

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About 34,000 students have not yet complied with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate in the Los Angeles Unified School District — and there’s no longer enough time for students who have not gotten their first shot to be fully vaccinated by the Jan. 10 start of the second semester.

Faced with more than 30,000 unvaccinated older students, the Los Angeles Unified School District on Tuesday pushed back the deadline for its COVID-19 vaccine mandate to fall 2022.

The controversial move in the nation’s second-largest district signals tension ahead for other districts that aim to enforce student vaccine requirements when the country remains bitterly divided over mandates.

“We have not come to this conclusion lightly,” interim Los Angeles Superintendent Megan Reilly said before the vote. She’ll soon be replaced by Alberto Carvalho, the outgoing superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools whose contract was approved by the board Tuesday.

Los Angeles had planned to shift students who remained unvaccinated by Jan. 10 into its online school, City of Angels. Many worried about its ability to accommodate tens of thousands of new students at the start of the next semester and the disruption it would cause for staff and children.

The Oakland Unified School District also pushed back its student COVID-19 vaccine deadline by a month because about 35% of eligible students remain unvaccinated. Students who don’t comply by the new deadline in late January will be shifted into all-virtual instruction, the district said.

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