The LACCD vaccine mandate is a difficult adjustment in the midst of a busy semester and should not go into effect this fall semester.
Opinion By Marcos Franco, Managing Editor
Implementing and enforcing a vaccine mandate for the fall semester did not go as smoothly as it could have for the district if they had gradually introduced measures before the start of the school year.
Following the district’s announcement of a four-week grace period for students and staff who did not meet the original Oct. 8 and Oct. 18 deadlines to submit a negative test and proof of vaccination, there is no point in mandating the vaccine one month before the end of the semester. The revision to Board Policy 2900 states that employees have until 5 p.m. on Nov. 3 to upload proof of vaccination or submit an exemption and complete a baseline test while students are given until Nov. 19. Considering the final day of classes is Dec. 19, the district should hold off enforcing the policy until the start of winter classes.
Eighteen year old business major Nadia Araña believes that the campus did not need the mandate in the first place since the college did a good job limiting class sizes and managing social distancing.
“I think the campus was safe even before a vaccine mandate,” said Araña. “I haven’t gotten my first dose yet and the campus let us know at the last minute that we would need to be vaccinated.”
Students and faculty are required to create a Cleared4 account and are walked through the registration process via a link sent to their outlook school email. Those who choose to submit an exemption are given a much more convenient method than those looking to upload their vaccination status. Through the student portal homepage, monarchs are able to submit religious and medical documents to the recently added “vaccine exemptions” module which does not require any additional steps compared to Cleared4. The college should expand this option to include a category for vaccinated students rather than forcing them to sort through piles of spam emails to find the original link sent to them in September.
A better idea which could have prevented the late-semester obstacle for district students would have been to follow the lead of Cal State Universities over the summer. Prior to full approval of the Pfizer vaccine, CSUs announced their plans to gradually implement a vaccine requirement on July 27 across their 23 campuses that applied to 485,549 students. The introduction however gave students and faculty more than a two month deadline to submit their vaccination status by Sept. 30, four weeks prior to the start of the fall semester.
Although the district floundered the introduction of the mandate, there are still options to keep students safe without interrupting the flow of the term. The most sensible solution would be to let students ride out the rest of the fall semester while planning an in-depth approach to enforce the policy by the start of four-week winter courses on Jan. 4.
Students struggling to find the original link sent to their outlook email are asked to contact the Cleared4 help desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.