White House urges Americans to discuss COVID-19 vaccines over Thanksgiving

Court rejects San Diego school district’s COVID vaccination mandate

The California 4th District Court of Appeals ruled against requiring San Diego Unified School District students to have a COVID-19 vaccine this week.

On Tuesday, the appeals court accepted a lower court’s ruling from last year that the school district lacks the power to set its own terms of reference.

The court rejected numerous defenses of the district’s mandate, including that it is consistent with the responsibility to keep students safe, that programs can be created to meet “local needs,” and that the mandate is not actually a warrant because it allows students to do independent home study if they choose not to comply.

“We doubt that students and their parents perceive real choice. For some, independent study would likely be a step backwards,” he writes.

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SAN DIEGO, CA – SEPTEMBER 28: Anti-vaccine protesters stage a demonstration outside the San Diego Unified School District office to protest a forced vaccination mandate for students on September 28, 2021, in San Diego, California.
((Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images))

San Diego Unified is reviewing the appeals court’s decision and “will consider its next steps,” district spokesman Mike Murad said in an email to the Los Angeles Times.

In May, the district decided to suspend the mandate — which would have immediately required students 16 and older to be vaccinated in order to attend in-person school and participate in extracurricular activities — until July 2023. at least.

San Diego Unified School District signage is seen on a Navistar International Corp school bus.  at the San Diego Unified School District Department of Transportation in San Diego, California, U.S. on Thursday, July 9, 2020.

San Diego Unified School District signage is seen on a Navistar International Corp school bus. at the San Diego Unified School District Department of Transportation in San Diego, California, U.S. on Thursday, July 9, 2020.
(Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

There were exemptions allowed for medical reasons, but not based on personal beliefs.

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The mandate faced a legal challenge from parent group “Let Them Choose”, while it filed a lawsuit in October 2021.

Demonstrators demonstrate outside the San Diego Unified School District office to protest a forced vaccination mandate for students on September 28, 2021 in San Diego, California.

Demonstrators demonstrate outside the San Diego Unified School District office to protest a forced vaccination mandate for students on September 28, 2021 in San Diego, California.
(Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

The group argued that the decision to mandate vaccines must be made at the state level and must also include a “personal belief exemption” – unless the state legislature acts to eliminate the exemption.

The district first adopted its student vaccination mandate in September 2021.

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It is one of several large school districts in California to announce such a mandate. Those with similar mandates include the Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento and West Contra Costa Unified School Districts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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