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Glendale school board approves vaccine mandate for employees

The Glendale Unified School District Board of Education approved a vaccine mandate for all employees on Tuesday evening.

Employees must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1.

The district joins the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest school district, which is requiring all of its employees to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 15.

Glendale Unified Board of Education President Shant Sahakian called vaccines “our absolute best defense against COVID-19.”

“Requiring vaccination for all employees is another important step in our journey to ensure all eligible members of our community are vaccinated,” Sahakian said in a statement. “Getting our entire community vaccinated not only protects the health and safety of our community, but also maximizes the amount of time students can remain in school and engaged in learning with their teachers.”

“From the moment vaccinations were first available, Glendale Unified has worked diligently with our healthcare partners to provide vaccination opportunities for employees, students, and families,” Glendale Unified Superintendent Vivian Ekchian added in a statement. “I am incredibly proud of our District’s continued commitment and efforts to vaccinate our community, which have resulted in an already high vaccination rate among our employees.”

In the lead-up to the discussion, approximately 100 parents and staff members demonstrated outside district headquarters in favor of mandatory COVID-19 testing and a requirement that all students and staffers wear masks while outside.

The school district already has an indoor mask mandate in place.

“These kids climb all over each other,” teacher and parent Laura Kellogg said. “You can walk by any elementary campus. They’re outside. They’re breathing in each other’s faces.”

Classes resumed in person 10 days ago, and there are 51 confirmed COVID-19 cases across all 34 campuses.

Potential exposure to the virus has sent approximately 4,300 more students home to quarantine, but school officials say they’re simply being cautious.

“Quarantine doesn’t mean you’re sick. It means you’re taking care of yourself and your community,” Ekchian told KTLA. “So quarantine is a good thing.”

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