By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — All Los Angeles Unified School District employees will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 15, interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly announced Friday.

All employees will also still be required to participate in regular COVID-19 testing, regardless of vaccination status.

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Last month, the district announced it would be mandating weekly testing for all students and staffers.

“The science is clear – vaccinations are an essential part of protection against COVID-19,” Reilly said in a statement. 

To date, the district’s safety measures include daily health checks for everyone going onto school campuses, masks, comprehensive COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and isolation of cases, hand sanitizer, increased sanitization/cleaning of schools and upgraded ventilation.

“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.

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

The updated mandate was supported by the district’s teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles, whose Board of Directors voted overwhelmingly to support a vaccine mandate for all LAUSD employees.

The UTLA Board had previously voted to not oppose a vaccine mandate. This stronger position comes as the Delta variant continues to surge in our communities and as students and staff prepare for a return to full-time, in-person learning next week.

“I am the parent of an LAUSD fifth-grader, and my family has been going through the same uncertainty and anguish as so many other families as we approach the return to school,” UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said.

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“Because of the protocols that UTLA educators and LAUSD families fought for and won, LA Unified has among the strictest COVID safety protocols in the country. But this Delta variant is unlike anything we have seen so far in this crisis — especially its impact on children — and we all need to step up to do our part to protect the most vulnerable among us.”