san diego school covid
Students walk into Encanto Elementary School on San Diego Unified's first day back to in-person instruction. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

San Diego Unified’s Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to delay mandating COVID-19 vaccines for students until July 2023. 

The district’s staff made a presentation explaining that students have already been vaccinated at a high rate and the danger is waning. 

“There is limited evidence of widespread classroom transmission of the virus, especially with current ventilation safeguards remaining in place and with encouragement to voluntarily wear masks indoors,” the presentation reads. You can see their slides here

The district is also a bit less impressed with the vaccines. 

“As new variants come into existence, the original vaccines have lost a significant margin of effectiveness to prevent new infections after the first two months,” they wrote. 

The mandate was intensely controversial when first approved by the board in 2021. Since then, lawsuits have bogged it down and the state decided to postpone its own insistence that all students be vaccinated before attending in-person classes. 

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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  1. Finally, our school leadership realizes that our COVID-19 vaccines lost significant effectiveness against infection & transmission after just a few months. We cannot vaccinate all the students, teachers, and staff every semester, as that would me medically irresponsible. The effectiveness of ventilation systems has been underestimated, as we have determined on airplanes. Voluntary mask wearing by vulnerable students, teachers, and staff is also an excellent focused solution, unlike the shotgun mask mandates.

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