2nd-Largest School District in U.S. Says 4 in 5 Workers Fully Vaccinated as Deadline Looms

More than 80 percent of people employed by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of the district's vaccine mandate deadline on October 15.

The district is the second largest in the country and employs about 73,000 people, including substitutes. It said in a statement shared with Newsweek that the number of employees who have informed the district they have been vaccinated does not include those who have plans to get vaccinated in the coming days or those who have yet to provide the district with their vaccination information.

A spokesperson for the LAUSD said employee vaccination numbers "continue to climb" and added that the district is "seeing significant increases day over day and week over week."

"The current employee vaccination rate of over 80 percent does not include employees who are currently scheduled to receive their second dose or their single Johnson & Johnson in the next two and a half weeks, and does not reflect the many employees who are fully vaccinated but have not yet uploaded their records," the spokesperson said.

LAUSD vaccine mandate teachers
The Los Angeles Unified School District said more than 80 percent of its employees have been vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of the district's October 15 vaccination deadline. Above, a school bus transporting education workers arrives at a mass vaccination site in a parking lot at Hollywood Park on March 1 in Inglewood, California. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

LAUSD's interim superintendent, Megan Reilly, announced in mid-August the district would require all employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Regardless of vaccination status, employees would also be required to get tested for the virus on a regular basis, Reilly said.

"This additional step goes above local and federal health guidelines in order to provide another layer of safety in our schools, especially for our youngest learners," Reilly said in a statement at the time of the district's announcement. Employees were told they had until October 15 to comply with the requirement.

In early September, the district said all students eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine would be required to do so. The vaccination deadlines for students 12 and older depend on whether they are attending only in-person classes or are also participating in extracurricular activities. Students who turn 12 after the initial deadlines will be required to get vaccinated within two months of their birthday, according to the district.

The district issued a reminder to employees about the upcoming vaccination deadline in a Tuesday post on Twitter. While employees who attend vaccination clinics hosted by the district have their vaccination status automatically updated, the district said those who are vaccinated elsewhere are required to independently provide proof of their shots before the mid-October deadline.

The LAUSD spokesperson told Newsweek the district is holding daily vaccination clinics and providing assistance to employees who were vaccinated elsewhere to ensure their vaccination status is updated.

"We are confident that we will see the numbers continue to go up as we approach the deadline," the spokesperson said.

This summer, California became the first state to require school employees to either get vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly in order to prevent further spread of the virus. In the weeks since California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the school employee vaccination requirement, several districts throughout the state have issued mandates of their own, with LAUSD introducing its vaccine requirement two days after Newsom's announcement.