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LAUSD stands firm on staff vaccine mandate – Daily News

Los Angeles Unified School District employees who don’t receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Friday won’t be allowed to return to campus on Monday, a district official said during the Tuesday, Oct. 12, school board meeting, where he also urged patience as schools work through staffing issues next week.

“‘Those employees who have not been vaccinated, we’re going to ask not to report to their sites” come Monday, Deputy Superintendent Pedro Salcido said.

The district is preparing for the impacts of workers being out, he said, though he did not elaborate on the contingency plan.

“Please bear with us, work with us,” he said.

LAUSD officials did not provide updated figures on the number of vaccinated employees as of this week, though they had estimated the number to be at about 80% two weeks ago. A spokesperson said at the time the figure did not include people already vaccinated who hadn’t uploaded their records or people scheduled to get their shots, and that the district expected the vaccination rate to grow by mid-October.

Still, in a district with about 73,000 employees, potentially thousands of workers could be ordered to stay home after this week.

In a statement Monday, the district said employees who get their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine can remain working on campus, provided they get their second shot by Nov. 15. Those who opt for the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine must be inoculated by this Friday.

Employees who don’t receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Friday and who aren’t reassigned to a remote role will be paid through Oct. 31 and could be fired as early as Nov. 1.

As elected officials were receiving a vaccination report inside the board room, outside, educators, parents and some students who oppose LAUSD’s vaccine mandates for staff and students rallied outside the district office.

One organizer estimated that about 200 people participated in the rally, though by about 6 p.m., the crowd size was estimated at 100, as protesters — many wearing T-shirts that read “I did not quit my job. My job quit on me!” — stood on the overpass overlooking the 110 freeway, waving signs.

Substitute teacher Lawrence Sanchez, one of the co-founders of California Educators for Medical Freedom that opposes vaccine mandates, said the district hasn’t done enough to offer reasonable accommodations for those who do not wish to be vaccinated.

“They’re making people choose  between their livelihoods or their religious or personal beliefs,” he said.

Earlier in the day, several people opposed to the district’s student vaccination mandate also called in to address the school board, raising concerns about potentially unknown longterm impacts of the vaccines and adverse side effects such as myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle.

To address those concerns, the district had Dr. Robert Gilchick from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health present information suggesting that the benefits of getting vaccinated outweigh the risks.

According to the county’s health department, in August, there were 300 positive cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people among vaccinated youths ages 12 to 17, compared to more than 2,000 cases per 100,000 people among the unvaccinated in this age group. The hospitalization rate among the vaccinated in this age group was 0.3 per 100,000 people versus 10 per 100,000 among the unvaccinated.

He also reported that among 16- and 17-year-olds, the occurrence of a myocarditis case was 8 per 100,000 people for females and 73 per 100,000 per males. At the same time, the number of COVID-19 cases that were prevented as a result of the vaccines were 77,800 per 100,000 people among females and 56,700 among males, and hospitalization preventions were 520 per 100,000 among females and 500 per 100,000 among males, according to the presentation.

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