All Los Angeles Unified School District teachers and staff will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of continued employment at the nation’s second-largest school district, officials announced Friday.
Also, all employees will still be required to get tested regularly for coronavirus — regardless of vaccination status, Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly announced.
Employees have until Oct. 15 to comply with the new vaccination rule.
“The science is clear – vaccinations are an essential part of protection against COVID-19,” Reilly said in a news release.
LAUSD, a major employer in L.A. County, says it may take disciplinary action, including unpaid leave and “separation from service,” against employees who fail to comply with the vaccine requirement.
The district will still work to determine if accommodations can be made for employees who say they can’t get vaccinated due to a disability or sincerely held religious belief, LAUSD says on its website.
The district’s announcement comes days after Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled the statewide public health order requiring all school employees to either show proof that they are vaccinated against the coronavirus or be subject to weekly testing. L.A. Unified’s new policy goes further, mandating vaccines for all employees, partners and contractors.
“This additional step goes above local and federal health guidelines in order to provide another layer of safety in our schools, especially for our youngest learners,” Reilly said in a statement.
The district previously announced it is requiring all students and employees who are returning for in-person instruction to participate in weekly coronavirus testing — regardless of vaccination status.
The teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles, on Friday said it overwhelmingly voted to support a vaccine mandate for all LAUSD employees.
The union had previously said it would not oppose a vaccine mandate, but is now taking a “stronger position” due to concerns over the delta variant and a statewide surge in case numbers that comes just as students and staff are set to return to full-time, in-person learning next week.
“I am the parent of an LAUSD fifth-grader, and my family has been going through the same uncertainty and anguish as so many other families as we approach the return to school,” UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said in a statement. “Because of the protocols that UTLA educators and LAUSD families fought for and won, LA Unified has among the strictest COVID safety protocols in the country. But this Delta variant is unlike anything we have seen so far in this crisis — especially its impact on children — and we all need to step up to do our part to protect the most vulnerable among us.”