LOS ANGELES - All Los Angeles Unified School District employees will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 15, interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly announced Friday.
The district previously was mandating only weekly testing for all students and staffers, regardless of vaccination status.
Reilly said all district employees will still be required to participate in regular testing.
"The science is clear -- vaccinations are an essential part of protection against COVID-19," Reilly said in a statement. "To date, our safety measures include daily health checks for everyone going onto school campuses, masks, comprehensive COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and isolation of cases, hand sanitizer, increased sanitization/cleaning of schools and upgraded ventilation. 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."
Pacoima Middle School teacher Abigail Abbott, 65, gets her COVID-19 vaccination from Nurse Practitioner Jiyoun Cho, left, as Los Angeles Unified employees received their first dose of the vaccine. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images).
"We deeply care about all of our employees. We appreciate everyone's commitment to maintaining the safest possible environment for the students and families we serve."
According to the district, LAUSD will consider medical or religious exemptions from the vaccine requirement. For employees who fail to comply with the mandate, the district "may take disciplinary action, including but not limited to placement on unpaid leave and/or separation from service."
The mandate has the support of the Board of Directors of the district's powerful teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles. According to the union, the board voted "overwhelmingly" to support a vaccine mandate for all employees. The board had previously voted only not to oppose a mandate.
LAUSD fall classes begin Monday.
The news comes after Governor Gavin Newsom Wednesday announced a new policy that requires all staff at California schools to be fully vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. The new state rule is technically not considered a mandate since teachers have an option if they opt not to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Tune in to FOX 11 Los Angeles for the latest Southern California news.
CNS contributed to this report.