On First Day Unvaccinated LAUSD Employees Can’t Work, Some Walk Out – NBC Los Angeles

on Oct18
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School walkouts are planned across California on Monday, in protest of statewide vaccine requirements for teachers and the statewide student vaccine mandate announced at the beginning of the month.

The walkouts come on the first day that LAUSD’s vaccine mandate officially prevents any unvaccinated district employee from working.

Toni Guinyard/NBCLA

One of many walkouts across the state of California, teachers and parents protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Van Nuys on Oct. 18, 2021.

Friday, Oct. 15 was the deadline for LAUSD employees, including teachers, to get their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines. Those who did not receive at least one dose will not be able to return to work, officials have said.

There were indications from district officials that, so long as information was uploaded before Monday, employees with at least one dose could continue working. LAUSD also held walk-in vaccination clinics at six local district offices over the weekend, in an effort to vaccinate more employees.

Participation has been high among LAUSD workers. Overall compliance with the mandate is 95% or higher, with 97% of administrators, 97% of classroom teachers and 95% of classified supervisors loading their vaccination status into the district’s Daily Pass system as of Friday.

But the moment has now arrived, and employees who have not done so are being told they cannot work Monday.

Toni Guinyard/NBCLA

The walkout protests on Oct. 18, 2021 occurred on the first day that LAUSD employees without at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine were not allowed to work on campus.

Also at the heart of the walkouts is the impending statewide student vaccine mandate. Some parents opposed to allowing their children to get the shot are expected to join the Monday protests alongside school employees.

A preview of the day’s walkout protests came over the weekend, when a group demonstrated outside the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District headquarters.

“Most of us here have applied for religious exemptions,” said Jamie Aakhus, a teacher with Hacienda La Puente Unified. “They were all denied. They didn’t even try to legally, reasonably accommodate us.”

LAUSD issued a statement about the mandate on Friday.

“As part of Los Angeles Unified’s commitment to provide the safest possible environment in which to learn and work, employees must receive one dose of the vaccine by October 15, 2021 to continue to report to work, and not be subject to separation from District service as long as they receive the second dose by November 15, 2021,” a district spokesperson said.

Thousands of employees have yet to get a first dose at this point. Patrick Healy reports Oct. 12, 2021.

After Friday’s deadline, the unvaccinated can return to work as soon as they get their first dose so long as they do so by Oct. 31, thanks to negotiations by SEIU Local 99, the union representing bus drivers, food service workers and custodians.

Those negotiations also moved the deadline for full vaccination back to November.

“We care deeply about all of our employees,” LAUSD said Friday. “We appreciate everyone’s commitment to maintaining the safest possible environment for the students and families we serve.”

Toni Guinyard/NBCLA

A protest against vaccine mandates in Van Nuys, California. In August, CA became the first state to mandate that all teachers get vaccinated against COVID-19 or face weekly testing. It was also the first state to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for students, once the vaccine received full FDA approval.

Protests against the mandate itself, rather than the deadline, are expected to grow louder as walkouts begin. The walkout in front of Birmingham Community High School in Van Nuys was scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. Monday.

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