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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Students walk the hallway at Hollywood High School in Los Angeles, Calif.

The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education approved a measure Thursday mandating eligible students in the nation's second-biggest school district to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's the first major school district to require vaccines for students — a move that may set a precedent for school districts across the country to follow.

  • The school district, which has seen a number of legal challenges to its other COVID-19 mitigation measures, will likely face more litigation over the mandate, writes the Los Angeles Times.

State of play: Students 12 years and older have been eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines in Los Angeles for several months, but many have not, the Los Angeles Times reported.

  • All students will need to upload proof of full vaccination to the district's Daily Pass system by Jan. 10, 2022, unless they have a medical or other exemption.
  • All students who attend in-person classes will be required to receive their first doses by Nov. 21, and their second dose by Dec. 19, according to the measure.
  • Students participating in in-person extracurriculars will be on an expedited timeline, with first doses required by Oct. 3, and second doses by Oct.31.
  • Students who turn 12 after these deadlines will have 30 days to receive their first dose.

What they're saying: “The science is clear – vaccinations are an essential part of protection against COVID-19,” Interim Superintendent Megan Reilly said in the press release. “The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and requiring eligible students to be vaccinated is the strongest way to protect our school community.” 

  • “Our goal is to keep kids and teachers as safe as possible, and in the classroom,” Board Vice President Nick Melvoin wrote. “A medical and scientific consensus has emerged that the best way to protect everyone in our schools and communities is for all those who are eligible to get vaccinated."

The big picture: L.A. Unified has established some of the most comprehensive COVID safety measures in the country, testing all students and teachers weekly, requiring masks indoors and outdoors, mandating staff be vaccinated, and even running vaccination clinics in schools, per the New York Times.

  • Melvoin told the L.A. Times ahead of the vote that "inaction on a state level" had propelled the move to a vaccine mandate.
  • The district offers online independent study for those who do not want to attend classes in person, but only a small number of students have opted for it, per the Times.

Go deeper

22 hours ago - Health

1 in 500 Americans has died of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: CDC and U.S. Census Bureau; Table: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The U.S. has reached a grim pandemic milestone: More than 1 in 500 Americans has died of COVID-19, according to the latest available data.

Why it matters: The rising death toll highlights the continued effects of the Delta variant and the ongoing struggle to get Americans vaccinated.

By the numbers: The total number of COVID-19 deaths recorded in the United States is 665,496 as of 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, according to reporting by Johns Hopkins University.

  • 30.1% of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. involved individuals ages 85 and older as of Wednesday, despite only making up 2% of cases and an equal portion of the population.
20 hours ago - Science

Moderna suggests booster shots, citing clinical data

A box of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Indonesia. Photo: Algi Febri Sugita/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Moderna vaccine's efficacy declines a year after it's administered, compared to protection seen in recently inoculated individuals, the vaccine maker announced Wednesday.

Driving the news: Moderna made its case for supporting booster shots, citing clinical trial data that demonstrate breakthrough infections are less common among participants approximately eight months after receiving the first dose compared to approximately 13 months.

10 hours ago - Health

COVID cases are falling, but deaths are rising

Data: N.Y. Times; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The pace of new coronavirus infections in the U.S. is beginning to slow — a potential sign that the states hit hardest by the Delta wave may be starting to turn things around.

Yes, but: Deaths are still rising, and it’s still too early to know whether schools might drive cases back up again.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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