Judge Denies San Diego School District’s COVID Vaccine Mandate

The California 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the San Diego Unified School District. Student need for a COVID-19 vaccine This week.

On Tuesday, an appeals court agreed with last year’s lower court ruling that a school district does not have the power to set its own mandate.

The court rejected several arguments by the district in defense of its mandate, including that it is in line with the responsibility for student safety, that programs can be created to meet “local needs” and that the mandate is not really a mandate because it allows students to conduct independent study at home if they choose to disobey.

“We doubt that students and their parents perceive a real choice. For some, an independent study would probably be a step backwards.

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SAN DIEGO, CA - SEP 28: Vaccine protesters stage a protest outside the San Diego Unified School District office to protest forced vaccination of students on September 28, 2021 in San Diego, California.

SAN DIEGO, CA – SEP 28: Vaccine protesters stage a protest outside the San Diego Unified School District office to protest forced vaccination of students on September 28, 2021 in San Diego, California.
((Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images))

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

In May, the district decided to leave a mandate that would immediately require students aged 16 and over to be vaccinated in order to attend school in person and participate in extracurricular activities until at least July 2023.

A San Diego Unified School District sign is visible on Navistar International Corp.  A school bus at the San Diego Unified School District Department of Transportation in San Diego, California, USA on Thursday, July 9, 2020

A San Diego Unified School District sign is visible on Navistar International Corp. A school bus at the San Diego Unified School District Department of Transportation in San Diego, California, USA on Thursday, July 9, 2020
(Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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

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Mandat has faced legal action from parent group Let them Choose, with the lawsuit filed in October 2021.

A protest demonstration outside the office of the San Diego Unified School District to protest the forced vaccination of students on September 1.  October 28, 2021 in San Diego, California.

A protest demonstration outside the office of the San Diego Unified School District to protest the forced vaccination of students on September 1. October 28, 2021 in San Diego, California.
(Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

The group argued that the decision to mandate vaccines should be made at the state level and should also include a “conscientious objection” unless the state legislature took action to eliminate the exception.

District one accepted its vaccination mandate for students in September 2021.

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This is one of several large school districts in California declare 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.