NewsLocal NewsSan Diego News


San Diego Unified unanimously passes COVID-19 vaccine mandate for eligible students, staff

Teen receives COVID vaccine
Posted at 10:06 AM, Sep 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-29 00:36:13-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego Unified School District board voted unanimously Tuesday night to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all students who are eligible and for district employees.

SDUSD's meeting comes after the Los Angeles Unified Schools District, the largest public school system in California and second-largest in the US, recently voted to require all students ages 12 and up to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for in-person learning.

According to a draft of SDUSD's vaccine plan:

For employees:

  • The district could require "employees, partners, contractors, and other adults who work directly with students and district employees on district property to be fully-vaccinated on or before December 20, 2021. This mandate would be a condition of employment and a requirement for contracted services."
    • "The District may take disciplinary action, up to and including termination for employees who do not comply with this mandate."

For students:

  • The district could rollout a "staggered approach to have all eligible students vaccinated against COVID-19, as a condition of attending in-person learning. The timeline for requiring the mandated vaccination will be aligned to the full FDA approval. Mandatory testing will be required for all unvaccinated students until full FDA approval of the vaccine for their age group."
  • "Students who are eligible for the vaccine and not vaccinated by established deadlines will be required to participate in independent study programs. Students:
    • Will require parental consent for all students under the age of 18
    • Will be afforded the opportunity for medical exemptions
    • May be conditionally enrolled via in-person learning if they are in one of these groups: foster youth, homeless, migrant, military family, or have an IEP. State law does not recognize religious or personal belief exemptions for student immunizations.
    • Who are not vaccinated will not be permitted to participate in extracurricular activities unless the student is below the age range of FDA’s full approval or has an exemption."

Richard Barrera, SDUSD board president, said the district's protocols surrounding mask wearing and ventilation are working to keep cases down, but that they still need to be vigilant due to the delta variant.

“We think that the strategies we have in place are the right strategies, the effective strategies," Barrera said this month. "But we continue to live by the reality which all of us are facing which is the continued surge in COVID and the delta variant.”

Demonstrators are expected to gather outside of the district's offices during the meeting. Sharon McKeeman, the founder of "Let them Breathe," said this month that she doesn't believe the district should be mandating the vaccine.

"I do appreciate that they are putting that out there and giving notice … parents need that transparency," said McKeeman. "Our kids have been through a lot and it’s been a very chaotic and uncertain time for them. We absolutely do not feel that they should be thrown this curveball especially after they have started the school year."