LACCD’s Board of Trustees made a revision to their previous policy now requiring employees and students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
By Benjamin Royer, Valley Life Editor
In a shift of policy from a district wide announcement, Valley College will be mandating vaccines for employees and students starting on Oct. 18.
Nearly 14,000 enrolled students started the semester with a mask mandate, smaller course sizes, check-ins and now comes more changes. At the LACCD Board of Trustees meeting, the board approved revisions to a previous policy to now require LACCD employees and students be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or gain exemption status through medical or religious reasons and undergo regular testing. All employees or students must prove either vaccination status or medical or religious exemptions by Oct. 18.
If students have medical or religious exemptions, they would be subject to weekly COVID-19 tests, needing a negative test to enter campus facilities.
“We are following the science and the recommendations of our leading public health officials that vaccinations are the best tool to end this pandemic,” Trustees President Steve Veres said in a LACCD news release. “We care about our employees and our students and their safety is our top priority.”
The FDA recently approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, with the rubber stamp making it the first of its kind. When asked if the approval played into the decision to mandate vaccines on campuses, Valley President Barry Gribbons replied, “I believe it did, yes.”
No later than Oct. 8, students must go through the district’s testing vendor, Biocept, and create an account on Cleared4, which will track testing throughout the district..
COVID-19 testing began for Valley students on Sep. 14, but for Sep. 20 and beyond, students will be able to sign up for appointments through Cleared4. Testing will be available on Mondays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
To come into indoor areas of campus, faculty or students must upload their valid COVID-19 vaccination information and receive a negative test before Oct. 18.
Cleared4 will host the daily health check that allows students to access Valley once they receive a “Clear Pass.” Students may have to show their "Clear Pass" to enter classrooms, buildings and inside areas on campus.
Students can upload their vaccination status on their Cleared4 account. When creating an account to upload vaccination status and the daily symptom selfcheck, the website will ask for a health insurance card. There are two options: upload a health insurance card or let the vendor know of the lack of health insurance.
The symptom selfcheck is available through a link sent to students’ LACCD emails. Each student is given a specific link to sign up that connects to their student email.
It is unclear how this will affect unvaccinated students without exemption who are currently enrolled within in-person courses, but VALLEY-INTERNET courses will remain unaffected.
Valley asks that faculty and students planning on attending campus before Oct. 18 continue to follow the district’s guidelines. It is still required to wear masks indoors and complete the symptom self-assessment provided on Cleared4.
“If a student does not complete their self-assessment, we will simply ask them to complete it,” Gribbons said. “If a student refuses, and similarly if a student refuses to wear a mask, the student will be subject to discipline.”
Given a tight timeline, students have just over a month to complete the processes put in place by the policy.