The Los Angeles Unified School District, which didn’t allow schools to fully reopen for 17 months because of COVID-19, has now fired 496 employees who refused to get vaccinated.

The employees were let go from the nation’s second-largest school district for "non-compliance with the district’s vaccine requirement." The district provided a written statement to the Washington Examiner that said vaccinations are a condition of employment, and employees who do get vaccinated may be eligible for rehire.


"We care deeply about all of our employees," interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly said in a statement. “Parting ways with individuals who choose not to be vaccinated is an extremely difficult, but necessary, decision to ensure the safety of all in our school communities. We wish everyone the best in their future endeavors and encourage everyone to get vaccinated."

Vaccines have long been a sticking point for United Teachers of Los Angeles, a teachers union whose members refused to return to work earlier this year while the rest of the nation was reopening.

Among their demands were full vaccinations for school employees, testing or vaccinations for students, and waiting until Los Angeles’s COVID-19 infection rate had fallen. Gov. Gavin Newsom, facing declining poll numbers and a looming recall election, intervened when UTLA threatened to hold out until 2022 and managed to open the classrooms on Aug. 16. They had been closed since March 13, 2020.

UTLA has since successfully lobbied the district to pass a resolution that all students 12 years or older must be vaccinated before the end of the year.

During the first few months of the year, angry parents organized behind the activist group Open Schools California, which posts regular updates and urged dialogue on a Facebook page covering the state’s 1,037 school districts. Thousands of comments reflect the frustration of parents who encourage the recall of Newsom, dissatisfaction with teacher unions, and rallying at schools.

A flurry of school board recalls ensued, and the schools quickly began opening.


“If he can lock us up for a year, he certainly has the power to get teachers back in school. Or do like Reagan did when the air traffic controllers refused to go back to work. Fire them!!” posted one parent, who did not want to be named. He subsequently told the Washington Examiner that many teachers likely don’t fear COVID-19 but just want to stay home.