Culver City Unified, a 7,000-student district on the outskirts of Los Angeles, is requiring all eligible students and staff attending in-person school to vaccinate themselves against the coronavirus — the first public school system in the nation to do so amid a surge of cases due to the Delta variant.

In an Aug. 17 email to parents, Culver City Superintendent Quoc Tran announced that students would need to show proof of immunization by Nov. 19. Families who fail to comply by that date will have to enroll their children in a remote learning alternative called independent study, EdSource reported.

The decision, CCUSD spokesperson Geoff Maleman told The 74, was primarily motivated by concerns for student and staff safety due to the Delta surge.

While health experts agree that vaccines deliver strong protection against COVID-19, including the Delta variant, research indicates that coronavirus shots need not be a prerequisite to schools reopening safely, provided that mitigation measures such as universal masking, 3-foot distancing and adequate ventilation are followed.

In Culver City, Reiss thinks the district’s legal grounding may prove shaky: The list of immunizations required for public school enrollment is determined at the state level, she said, and is typically not left for individual districts to decide. Across California, teachers are required to get immunized against the coronavirus or submit to weekly testing. The school system will likely argue that the vaccines mandated by the state represent a floor, not a ceiling, for districts’ immunization requirements, she said, but California’s long-standing precedent of dictating vaccine policy statewide may weaken their claim.

“They’re taking a legal risk here,” the law professor told The 74. “I would be surprised if there’s no lawsuit.”

Read the full article about requiring vaccines in schools by Asher Lehrer-Small at The 74.