LAUSD not including kids aged 5-11 in current student COVID vaccine mandate; will offer voluntary shots

Local news

After children aged 5 to 11 were approved to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Los Angeles Unified School District officials said Tuesday that students in that age group will not be included in the current COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday gave the final approval to Pfizer’s kid-size COVID-19 shots, allowing millions of children across the nation to get the jab.

L.A. Unified said it will offer the younger children voluntary vaccine access, but will not mandate the shots for them.

Under the district’s current vaccine requirements, all LAUSD students aged 12 and older have to get a first dose no later than Nov. 21, and a second dose no later than Dec. 19 to resume in-person learning in January.

Then, starting Jan. 10, 2022, the older students who do not submit proof of vaccination won’t be allowed on school campuses. Instead, they will be referred to the district’s independent study program — unless an exemption or conditional admissions apply.

LAUSD students on sports teams and other in-person extracurricular programs had an earlier deadline to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination.

Parents were warned that after Sunday, children 12 and older will not be allowed to participate in in-person extracurricular activities without proof of vaccination.

It’s unclear if the district plans to include the younger students in the mandate in the future.

The students would be required to get the shots once vaccines get full federal approval, under a first-in-the-nation mandate announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom last month.

Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has fully approved a COVID-19 vaccine for people 16 and older, but has so far only given emergency authorization for younger recipients.

Under the statewide rule, students will be required to get vaccinated during the school term directly after the FDA gives full approval for a specific age group — ages 12 and older in grades 7-12, and ages 5-11 in K-6.

But it’s still unclear when that would happen.

For now, LAUSD is offering the vaccine to all students aged 5 and older.

Beginning Nov. 8, LAUSD’s mobile vaccination teams will offer the vaccine to students in the younger students. And then starting Nov. 16, 13 school-based clinics will also offer the vaccine.

“COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to protect our students, staff and families, and public schools are natural sites for our students and families to receive this life-saving vaccine,” LAUSD said in a statement.

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