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San Diego Unified schools will not have vaccine mandate yet

By January, all students in the largest school district in California will need to be vaccinated to attend in-person. So far, in San Diego, it's a different picture.

SAN DIEGO — “Today, the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education has voted to require all students who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination to be vaccinated.” 

That announcement came from interim LAUSD superintendent Megan Reilly on Thursday.

By January, all students in the largest school district in California will need to be vaccinated to attend in-person classes. So far, in San Diego, it's a different picture.

"As a pediatrician, I won't talk about the ethics of mandating vaccines, but I will talk to you about the outcome of having that many more people vaccinated, and that outcome is excellent," said Dr. Howard Taras, a pediatrician consultant to the San Diego Unified School District who said he supports the idea of what LAUSD is doing.

"Those who are not vaccinated are so much more susceptible to this," said Taras.

Locally, while the staff is required to get the vaccine or take part in weekly COVID-19 testing, school leaders believe making the environment as safe as possible for students is the ideal way to go. 

"We have really good ventilation, having masks on, and getting tested routinely especially if you’re not vaccinated," said Taras.

For context, Los Angeles Unified has about 600,000 students and has one of the strictest policies in the country- requiring weekly COVID testing for all students and employees despite vaccination status.  

San Diego Unified has about 120,000 students.

The only thing required as of now are masks indoors and outdoors.

The founder of Let Them Breathe is paying close attention to the vaccine requirements. The group of parents has been outspoken during the pandemic. They support families making their own decisions oo masking and vaccinations.

Sharon Mckeeman said she’s concerned what’s happening will make its way to San Diego.

"That’s why we really have to hold the line here and stand for our kid's choice. We know our kids are at a low risk of complications or death from COVID," said McKeeman.

Since August 2020 the CDC says nearly 55,000 children have been hospitalized with COVID-19. In the country, 520 children have died.

Statistically fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults and deaths are still very rare for children.