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Nearly 500 Los Angeles Unified School District employees were fired this week for refusing to comply with a mandate that they get vaccinated against COVID-19, while some 34,000 students have not yet been vaccinated as required.

KTLA News reports that the school board voted 7-0 in separate motions on Tuesday to terminate 496 employees, who make up less than 1% of the district’s approximately 73,000 workers.

Most of those fired had likely been on leave since mid-October when LAUSD staffers were to have received at least their first vaccine dose, the Los Angeles Daily News reported. Employees were required to receive their second dose by Nov. 15.

Of the 496 employee dismissals, 418 were classified employees who are non-credentialed but critical staff that can include positions such as instructional aides, custodians, cafeteria workers and others.

The district initially set an Oct. 15 deadline for its employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 but extended the deadline to Nov. 15.  “The effective date of separation for employees without record of any vaccine by October 15, 2021, will not be prior to November 1, 2021,” according to the district. “Employees will remain in paid status through October 31, 2021.”

The mandate applies to all district students, along with charter school students on co-located district school facilities. Students “with qualified and approved exemptions under LAUSD’s existing immunization policies” are exempt.

LAUSD is one of several large districts in California to adopt their own rules requiring students to get the COVID-19 vaccination, ahead of a statewide policy that will take effect after federal officials fully approve the immunizations by age group. The state policy, announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October, is not expected to go into place before July, but the precise date is still unknown.

Districts including San Diego Unified, Sacramento City Unified, Oakland and West Contra Costa are among those that have deadlines for student vaccine policies scheduled to take effect in early 2022. The policies vary according to district, with some allowing students to opt for weekly testing and others making the shot a requirement for in-person classes.

In Los Angeles, students who are not fully vaccinated – or exempt – will be forced into the district’s independent study program or will have to leave the Los Angeles public school system.

Shifting 34,000 students into independent study would be challenging because the program faces staffing shortages, according to the Times.