Urban Discovery Schools in downtown San Diego has become the first charter school system to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for its students age 12 and older.
Urban Discovery Schools runs two campuses: An elementary school and a middle/high school on 14th Street in downtown’s East Village. Across both of its schools, it serves about 600 students in grades TK through 12.
On Sept. 17, a mandate for COVID-19 vaccinations for students was approved by the charter school’s governing board. Come mid-October, the charter will begin implementing it.
The mandate calls for all Urban Discovery Schools students who are age 12 and older – who are part of in-person learning this school year – to get their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine no later than Oct. 17 and their second doze by Nov. 21.
“All other students must receive their first vaccine dose by no later than 30 days after their 12th birthday, and their second dose by no later than 8 weeks after their 12th birthday,” the school’s mandate adds.
The school will require all eligible students to provide proof of vaccination by Dec. 10, 2021, “in order to be permitted on UDS school facilities.”
The school said the mandate does not apply to students with qualified and approved exemptions and conditional admissions.
Meanwhile, the San Diego Unified School District – which is the second-largest school district in California – is considering a vaccine mandate for its eligible students. Of course, with more than 130,000 students, this would be a much bigger undertaking for SDUSD. The district is expected to discuss the topic further next week.
The SDUSD believes a vaccine mandate could deeply impact the district’s virtual learning program, possibly causing an increase in online enrollment from families who do not want to vaccinate their students. That, coupled with a shortage of substitute teachers, could prove challenging for the district.