EDITOR'S NOTE: Multimedia journalist Ryann Blackshere Vargas spoke to the mother of one student waiting in line to get vaccinated. Click the arrow above to watch the video.
LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Roughly 79% of eligible Los Angeles Unified students have met the district's deadline to receive their first shot of COVID-19 vaccine, the district announced Monday, but officials said they hope the percentage will increase as more students load information into the district's electronic reporting system.
Under the district's vaccine mandate, students aged 12 and up were required to receive their first dose by Sunday, and their second by Dec. 19.
LAUSD students aged 12 and older who take part in in-person extracurricular programs were required to receive their first dose by Oct. 3 and their second no later than Oct. 31.
Younger students will have to receive their first dose no later than 30 days after their twelfth birthday, and their second dose no later than eight weeks after turning 12. The district is recommending, but not mandating COVID shots for students aged 5-11.
In a statement Monday, district officials said they are still calculating final numbers, working to be "responsive to all external vaccination and medical exemptions uploaded over the weekend."
"As families upload their vaccination records to our Daily Pass system, we expect the number of vaccinated students to increase once students return to campus on Nov. 29 and as we approach the Dec. 19 second dose deadline," according to the district.
The 79% figure announced Monday reflects students who have a complete, pending or partial vaccination record, and those who "qualify for conditional admission or medical exemption."
"Los Angeles Unified's first and second dose deadlines for eligible students 12 and older are designed to ensure students receive the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination before the holiday season," according to the district. "All eligible students are expected to be fully vaccinated and have their records uploaded into Daily Pass before the start of the spring semester on Jan. 10."
Students who do not meet the mandate will be forced back into remote learning. During last week's Board of Education meeting, parents opposed to the mandate staged a rally outside and others spoke telephonically to the board, saying they should not be forced to vaccinate their children.
"You need to stop this nonsense," one parent told the board, calling the requirement an "unlawful mandate of an unapproved, experimental, investigative, not-yet-proven-to-be-safe" vaccine.
"It is our legal parental right to ensure we make sound health care decisions for our children," she said. "This is not LAUSD's decision."
The district's mandate applies to LAUSD campuses and charter schools that are co-located on district school facilities. The school board asked last week that the district explore the possibility of extending the mandate to district-authorized charter schools that operate on non-district properties.