Los Angeles students must get COVID-19 vaccine to return to school

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Once COVID-19 vaccines are available for children, Los Angeles students will need to be vaccinated before they can return to campus, Supt. Austin Beutner said Monday.
He did not suggest, however, that campuses remain closed until vaccines are available. Instead, he said, the state should set the standards for reopening schools, explain the reasoning behind the standards, and then require campuses to open when those standards are met.

A COVID-19 vaccine requirement would be “no different than students vaccinated against measles or mumps,” Beutner said in a pre-recorded briefing. He also compared students, staff and others receiving a COVID-19 vaccine to those who “get tested for tuberculosis before coming to campus. It’s the best way we know of to protect everyone on a campus. ”

County officials said on Monday that vaccines may be available for teachers and other essential workers who are expected to be part of the next round of immunization. These injections could start as early as early February, provided there are sufficient doses.

Student vaccinations, however, are likely several months away. The two vaccines that have so far received emergency use clearance from the Food and Drug Administration have been tested almost exclusively in adults. The clinical shooting trial by Pfizer and BioNTech included 153 young people aged 16 and 17, and some of the experts who looked at the data for the FDA said there were not enough adolescents to determine s ‘he was safe for that age. group, let alone for young children.

Children and young adults are also likely to be among the last to be vaccinated because they are less exposed to a severe case of COVID-19.

Once staff are vaccinated, Beutner said, he hoped all students would be vaccinated “around this time next year.”

Families who do not want their children to take the vaccine “will still have the option for a child to stay in e-learning and therefore not have to return to campus,” Beutner said.

Some leaders of teachers’ unions have insisted that campuses remain closed until teachers are vaccinated or infection levels drop significantly.

LA Unified released alarming data from its internal testing program last week: Nearly one in 3 asymptomatic students from some low-income communities who requested a coronavirus test at a site run by the district during the week of December 14 was found to be infected. At the time of the test, the children said they felt no effects from COVID-19. Asymptomatic carriers can still spread the virus to others and may later develop symptoms.

Even if a vaccine would protect teachers, infected children could pass the virus on to each other even if they show no signs of illness. It is also possible that vaccinated teachers – who would be protected – could still carry the virus from home to unvaccinated members of their household.

Officials hope that transmission of the virus on campus will be limited by strict security measures, including physical distance, better air filtration and the wearing of masks.

In their effort to reopen closed campuses, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond recently cited research suggesting that strong campus security protocols can be effective in limiting the spread of the virus.



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