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, portending significant disruption to their education as they will be barred from campus.
The high number of students who will not be able to meet the full inoculation deadline is likely to force difficult decisions on leaders of the nation’s second-largest school system, which has enacted among the strictest vaccine mandates in the nation. Students who are not fully vaccinated — or exempt — will be forced into the district’s independent study program or will have to leave the Los Angeles public school system.
Shifting 34,000 students 12 and older into independent study would be challenging —especially as the district’s independent study program, called City of Angels, has been beset by staffing shortages and confusion after it was inundated at the start of the school year with about 10,000 students, a number that grew to 16,000. The 34,000 total by itself would make up one of the 25 largest school systems in California.
There’s no indication that L.A. Unified is backing down — with no leniency or extended deadlines under public discussion.
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