On August 13, 2021, LAUSD issued a memo announcing that it is requiring all employees and other adults working at district schools and facilities to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 15, 2021.
To ensure the safety of our workplaces and communities, our union believes that safety protocols must be followed, everyone should have free access to vaccination and testing, and that the process of implementing a vaccination requirement must ensure all workers’ rights are respected.
Members have shared concerns and questions about LAUSD’s vaccine requirements. Below are answers to some of your frequently asked questions. Please continue to check this web page frequently. The situation with COVID-19 continues to be fluid, our bargaining team is in discussions with the district and we will continue to provide updates.
Does LAUSD have the right to mandate the vaccine?
As an employer, the district has the right to issue policies and requirements. However, as SEIU Local 99 members, we have the right to negotiate over how these policies and decisions will impact us. We have a voice in how the vaccine mandate will be implemented and enforced, including the process for exemptions and disciplinary actions. Our SEIU Local 99 bargaining team is meeting with the district on these issues. Please continue to check the website for the latest updates.
Can LAUSD have a vaccine mandate that is stricter than the state order?
The CA Dept of Public Health issued an order that requires all K-12 district workers in the state to either be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. This policy was already in place at LAUSD even before the state issued its order. The state order establishes a minimum standard of compliance for all school districts in CA. School districts can adopt stronger rules to ensure public health and safety. As the largest school district in the state, LAUSD faces unique challenges and has adopted a stricter mandate.
If I am fully vaccinated, do I have to continue to take a weekly COVID-19 test?
Yes. To ensure the ongoing health and safety of students and staff, especially with the Delta variant continuing to persist, weekly COVID-19 testing will continue for everyone working at the district.
What is the process to file for an exemption based on medical or religious reasons?
LAUSD has issued a process to file for an exemption/reasonable accommodations from the vaccine requirement as outlined in this district memo. While you should follow these steps if you are seeking an exemption from the vaccine, keep in mind that our bargaining team is meeting with the district to address exemptions and ensure that workers’ rights are followed throughout the process. Please continue to check for updates.
What happens if I am denied my request for an exemption?
You should notify SEIU Local 99 immediately. Our bargaining team is meeting with the district to address issues related to exemptions, including the criteria for exemptions, how determinations are made, reasonable accommodations for the unvaccinated, discipline and other issues.
What are the safety protocols that LAUSD is required to follow?
Our SEIU Local 99 bargaining team negotiated agreements with the district for the safe return to in-person instruction. Our Labor Management Committees also discussed safety policies with the district. These agreements included protocols and procedures to ensure the safety of students and staff. Below is a summary of some of the most common concerns and the district’s responsibilities. If these protocols and protections are not being followed, document it and report it using the SEIU Local 99 inquiry form.
- Personal Protective Equipment: The District must provide all necessary and appropriate PPE, including face coverings, soap, towels and hand sanitizer.
- Social Distancing: LAUSD is following the recommendations of the L.A. County Department of Public Health which currently state that “physical distancing strategies are recommended as long as they do not interfere with full-time attendance for all students.”
- Face Masks: Everyone working indoors or driving/riding a school bus must wear a face mask. This includes special needs students, unless they have an IEP prohibiting them from wearing a mask for medical reasons, at which time they may use drape coverings or other methods to cover their nose and mouth. Furthermore, staff working with them will be provided with additional PPE.
- Outbreaks: An outbreak occurs when three or more cases are transmitted at school over 14 days.
- Paid sick time due to COVID exposure/vaccine reaction: Workers who must quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure will be paid without using their regular sick days, vacation time or other benefited leave. Also, if LAUSD requires workers to quarantine, you will be paid without using your regular leave time. You have ten work days (plus weekend days if part of employees’ work week) for total of 14 quarantine days. If you have an adverse reaction to the vaccine, you have up to three days of paid time off. In all cases, if you need additional time-off, you should notify SEIU Local and it will be addressed on an individual basis.
- COVID-19 test results: Employees no longer have to wait for test results before returning to work, unless they are informed to do so by health care personnel.
- Positive Cases – If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, they must remain at home or go home immediately if they are at work and isolate for at least ten days. Notify your supervisor who will put you in contact with the Community Engagement Team. View district’s memo.
- Close contacts with infected persons: When someone tests positive for COVID-19, a Community Engagement agent will interview them to identify any close contacts they have had with others in the district. If the infected person is a student, a parent will be contacted. A “close contact” is a person who was within six feet of the infected person for 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period. Close contacts must be notified by the Community Engagement Team. View district memo.
- Quarantine: Vaccinated students and employees who are close contacts do not need to quarantine as long as they remain asymptomatic. They must monitor for symptoms for 14 days. They will continue to be tested regularly for COVID-19. Unvaccinated staff should test for COVID-19, but are required to complete a full 10 day quarantine. They should continue to monitor for symptoms through day 14. This is in accordance with Cal/OSHA guidelines. Employees and students must be cleared by Community Engagement before returning to school/work location. View district memo.
What will trigger a school closure?
Only the Superintendent and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health can authorize the full or partial closure of a school or worksite. When positive cases are epi-linked, meaning that at least two infected individuals were both present at some point in the same setting during the same time period, the LACDPH will work with the Superintendent to determine if closure is necessary or required.
What if safety protocols are not being followed at my school or worksite?
If safety protocols are not being followed, you should immediately report any incident/safety violation by completing this form.