LBCC board postpones vote on vaccine mandate, calls special Oct. 21 meeting

The Long Beach Community College District Board of Trustees will delay a vote on whether to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for employees and students to access the campus next semester, instead opting to hold a special meeting to allow public input.

The announcement comes days after the board’s agenda was published and a local parent group mobilized against the vote by holding a protest outside the campus Tuesday afternoon.

The resolution the board was scheduled to adopt would have required employees and faculty to be fully vaccinated by January and students to be fully vaccinated before the start of the spring semester on Feb. 7.

Unvaccinated students and staff were facing a ban from campus unless they were able to attain an exemption from the college, according to the resolution’s language.

“We welcome a diversity of voices at Long Beach City College, which is why we will hold a special board meeting next Thursday dedicated to COVID-19,” LBCCD Board President Uduak-Joe Ntuk in a statement. “The stand-alone meeting will provide for more time, as requested by our campus community, and allow for full board participation.”

The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 21 at 5:30 p.m. The board has been meeting virtually due to the pandemic but will accept public comment through this link where people can leave written comments.

A number where commenters can leave a voicemail is also listed on the page.

A group called “LBparentsunited” held a protest outside the campus Tuesday night where a few dozen people holding signs opposed the college’s upcoming vote on a mandate.

A screenshot from the lbparentsunited Instagram account showing protestors outside LBCC’s Liberal Arts Campus.

The group has also been present at Long Beach Unified School District board meetings opposing vaccine requirements in K-12 schools.

The LBUSD has not implemented a vaccine mandate for students but an executive order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this month could mean that a mandate will be in place soon.

Under the order, students 12 and older would be required to be vaccinated once a COVID-19 vaccine is approved for regular use for children over 12. The Federal Drug Administration is in the process of evaluating a request from Pfizer to approve its vaccine for children 12 and up and a decision could come in the coming months.

If the approval comes before the start of the next semester those children would be required to be vaccinated as soon as January, but if it comes during the next semester the requirement wouldn’t become effective until the next semester in the fall.

The same rules would apply for children between five and 11, but approval for that age group is likely to lag behind children 12 and up since it was just recently requested for emergency use in children five and up.

Cal State Long Beach implemented a vaccine requirement before the start of the fall semester that required students and faculty to be vaccinated to attend in-person classes. Students who were declared exempt were allowed to attend classes if they submitted to regular COVID-19 testing.

The LBCC board meetings are streamed on the college’s YouTube page.

Long Beach City College could be city’s first educational institution to require COVID-19 vaccine

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Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post.