Change to GHC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policies (November 2023)

Change to GHC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policies (November 2023)
Brian Bauer

More than three-and-a-half years ago, the global COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented disruption to life as we knew it and much tragedy. So many families lost loved ones and others experienced severe illness leading to hospitalization and debilitating long-term symptoms. Schools closed their campuses, and although GHC quickly transitioned to distance learning that provided academic continuity, it was our objective to open our campuses as soon as it was sufficiently safe and logistically possible to do so, based on the best information and guidance available during an ever-evolving situation.

Granada Hills Charter followed the guidance of federal, state, and local public officials, directives from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), and the advice of GHC’s medical experts in enacting a series of COVID-19 policies requiring that students, staff, volunteers, and visitors be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of participation in on-campus programming and school activities. The same approach was followed across the University of California and other major universities, private schools, and peer charter schools. As public health experts explained, vaccination was a critically important tool to reduce transmission and the severity of illness in congregate settings like schools.

The policies played an important role in GHC’s safe return to in-person learning. GHC experienced high student and staff attendance rates under the policy, avoiding disruption to students’ education, and protected student, staff, and families’ health to the greatest extent possible, using the best tools available. As an independent charter school, a school of choice, GHC represented an educational option available to families in Los Angeles seeking to attend a tuition-free school observing the best available practices to protect the health of its students and staff.

On Monday evening, GHC’s Board of Directors reconsidered its COVID-19 vaccination policies for students, staff, workers, and volunteers, and voted to approve a revised policy under which vaccination against COVID-19 is encouraged, but not required, for access to the school campus and participation in school activities. This change follows in the footsteps of LAUSD’s decision in late September 2023 to rescind its COVID-19 vaccination policy with respect to LAUSD employees, and also employees, workers, and volunteers at independent charter schools authorized by LAUSD, as well as GHC’s experience this fall with respect to COVID-19, and the successful and safe start to the 2023-2024 school year.

A complete copy of the Board’s resolution and revised policy is available on GHC’s website at this link.  The revised policy will become effective on Monday, November 13, 2023. Students and parents or guardians who may have any questions about the revised policy should reach out to either Ms. Howelman (High School) or Ms. Nayfeld (TK-8). The School will prepare a transition plan for all students who wish to return to in-person instruction from independent study in compliance with legal requirements.

The last three-and-a-half years have been highly difficult and uncertain, and we thank you for your partnership in taking prudent collective steps to protect the health and well-being of our community at large to the greatest extent possible. We are grateful to have arrived at this moment where we may more fully return to school operations as they existed before the pandemic. However, we must recognize that COVID-19 continues to spread and remains a leading cause of death in the United States. We encourage all students, staff, and volunteers to remain up-to-date on COVID-19 booster shots, consistent with manufacturer, public health, and medical guidance.  

Stay safe and healthy.