The San Diego Unified School District has delayed the date students will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine in order to attend classes in person.
The mandate requiring the COVID vaccine for students 16 and older will now go into effect by June 2022 and will first affect students participating in summer 2022 programs.
For students attending classes in person for the fall 2022 semester, they must now show proof of their first dose by Sept. 6 and proof of their second dose by Oct. 4.
SDUSD said 79% of its students in that age group are already fully vaccinated and 84% have received at least one dose.
Students in younger age groups will be required to get the vaccine once the FDA grants full approval to the shot for their specific ages.
The district board cited logistical reasons for delaying their Vaccine Mandate Roadmap -- which was first approved on Sept. 28, 2021, and scheduled to be implemented in Dec. 2021 before it faced legal pushback.
Just before the requirement was set to take effect, a San Diego judge ruled against SDUSD's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students 16 and older, siding with the plaintiffs who argued that the mandate did not comply with state law.
The district appealed the ruling and a state appellate court granted a stay, allowing the vaccine mandate to continue while their appeal is pending. Despite the stay, the school board voted unanimously on Tuesday to delay the mandate.
California has also initiated a vaccine requirement for schoolchildren that is set to take effect at the start of the first school term after the FDA grants full approval of the shot to certain age groups. For children 16 and older, that will take effect at the start of the fall semester, although the initiative is also facing legal challenges from opposition groups.
Students in California are already legislatively mandated to get nearly a dozen shots to attend classes in person but the COVID-19 vaccine is not one of them. A new proposal would add the COVID shot to the list, effectively removing the personal belief exemption.
The district also on Tuesday approved a new testing policy for asymptomatic students who are under 16 years old or who have a medical vaccine exemption. The district will not allow personal or religious vaccine exemptions.
Under the new policy, mandatory testing will be determined by a number of factors, including case rates, and may be suspended during periods when local case rates are very low.