“We imagine by second semester, our middle school and high school campuses will be absolutely even safer than they are today,” LAUSD school board member Tanya Ortiz Franklin told CNN’s John Berman on Thursday morning.
The report says “students with qualified and approved exemptions and conditional admissions” would be excluded from the mandate, but it doesn’t provide additional detail about potential exemptions.
LAUSD estimates at least 150,000 doses will need to be administered if the requirement is approved, Franklin said, but Los Angeles County has the doses and the capability to undertake this effort.
Students who decline to get the vaccine but don’t have an exemption can enroll in the district’s Independent Study Program, an online resource that already has about 15,000 students who have opted for that learning option for a variety of reasons, Franklin said.
The district is “trying to do everything we possibly can to keep our schools safe,” Franklin said, including instituting mask wearing, testing and upgrading schools’ air filtration systems.
“Cases are on the rise and children are at risk from the Delta variant in ways we didn’t see last semester,” she said, “and our responsibility to children and our communities is their safety and well-being.”
But that’s not an issue for the LAUSD school board, Franklin told CNN, saying, “We understand the benefits far outweigh the risks, and so the emergency authorization really isn’t weighing into our decision.”
“It is about the access,” she added, “and that we can provide it in this country to our children, and we want to do that as quickly as possible.”
“That’s why there isn’t measles and mumps and rubella in our schools — because we vaccinate and we require it.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki praised the move Thursday, telling CNN, “Good for them.” But she also said it was important everyone around students were also inoculated to protect students under 12 who remain ineligible for vaccines.