Judge denies San Diego Unified’s spring vaccine mandate

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A San Diego Superior Court judge on Monday put San Diego Unified’s vaccine mandate on pause, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported, preventing thousands of unvaccinated teens from being barred from in-person instruction in the spring semester.

San Diego Unified’s mandate called for all students 16 and older to get fully vaccinated by Monday or else enroll in independent study starting Jan. 24, according to the Union-Tribune. The court ruled that only the state Legislature can act on vaccine mandates; the state’s student vaccine mandate will follow the federal Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the Covid vaccine for each age group and is expected to go into effect in July 2022.

“The statutory scheme leaves no room for each of the over 1,000 individual school districts to impose a patchwork of additional vaccine mandates, including those like the (San Diego Unified vaccine) Roadmap that lack a personal belief exemption and therefore are even stricter than what the (state health department) could itself impose upon learned consideration,” Judge John Meyer wrote in his ruling.

The ruling only applies to San Diego Unified, but will likely be used by anti-vaccine groups as evidence to challenge Covid vaccine mandates at other districts that adopted stricter timelines than the state’s.

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