Officials with Glendale Community College made the institution the latest this week to enact a mandate to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to use college facilities across all of its campuses.
The GCC Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Tuesday to level the mandate on all students, faculty and staff. The mandate will go into effect Oct. 31, meaning that those who have not started getting their vaccinations will be able to receive each dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines by then with enough time for the incubation period. Johnson & Johnson vaccines require only one shot.
Regardless of vaccination status, everyone on campus will be required to wear face masks when indoors.
As we begin to bring back in-person classes for the fall semester, we have a responsibility to provide a safe learning environment for our students and staff at GCC,” said GCC Board President Armine Hacopian in a statement. “This new rule will contribute to a safer community while allowing our students to pursue their educational goals in a way that aligns with their individual needs.”
GCC’s strict mandate goes a step beyond the Los Angeles Community College System, Long Beach City College and Cerritos College, which earlier this month decided to mandate weekly testing for unvaccinated students. In Glendale, only unvaccinated students who have an exemption through the Americans with Disabilities Act or a religious accommodation may continue to attend in-person classes; otherwise, unvaccinated students will be limited to online and virtual classes.
There will be more than 200 in-person classes offered at GCC this semester, along with more than 1,500 online classes.
“The key to this mandate is that GCC continues to offer students multiple options in how they pursue their educational goals,” said GCC Superintendent and President David Viar. “We have online classes for those who prefer learning at home or those who choose not to get vaccinated. Students who get the shot are rewarded with the option of coming on campus to learn and engage in person.”
The University of California and California State University systems are both mandating vaccines for students, faculty and staff.
State policy, meanwhile, currently requires all grade school educators to either be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing by October, although some school districts are taking the requirements further. Los Angeles Unified School District agreed to a vaccination mandate for its faculty and staff this month, and this week, Culver City Unified School District became the first district in Los Angeles County to impose a mandate for students 12 and older. (One vaccine, by Pfizer, has emergency authorized use for people as young as 12.)
The Board of Trustees, seen as in line with other institutions, made the decision as the fourth coronavirus wave surged in L.A. County, driven by the Delta variant, resulting in daily new cases exceeding 4,000 earlier this week. County officials reported that 92% of hospitalizations for COVID-19 are among unvaccinated people.
The county adds that vaccinated people are four times less likely to be infected with the disease and, importantly, 14 times less likely to require hospitalization.
“As the voice of the entire student body, it is crucial to highlight that everyone’s safety is of utmost importance,” said Associated Student GCC President Diana Morales, who serves as the student representative on the Board of Trustees. “All students are welcome to attend GCC, but if you want to attend in person, you have to be fully vaccinated.”