Math teacher Jose Soltero presents a slide show to his students about returning to classrooms after the pandemic, at Concord High School in Concord, Calif., on Aug. 12, 2021. (Harika Maddala/ Bay City News)

Most students 12 and older in the Oakland Unified School District will have to be fully vaccinated by the start of the spring semester or be forced to take independent study classes, school board members decided Wednesday night.

Board members voted 4-3 to adopt a policy that requires full vaccination to attend school or other in-person school activities unless a student has an exemption.

Exemptions can be for medical reasons, because of personal belief or if a person has received their first or second vaccine dose but is not yet fully vaccinated.

Fully vaccinated, according to district officials, occurs two weeks after a student receives their second vaccine shot.

School board members had the option to pass less restrictive policies. One proposal required students to be vaccinated only if they were participating in extracurricular activities. The other required students to be vaccinated, unless they received an exemption, at the start of the following school year in August 2022.

Unvaccinated OUSD students will be given the opportunity to take classes through the district’s Sojourner Truth Independent Study program.

School board members adopted the vaccine mandate for students 12 and older last month. OUSD was one of the first school districts in Northern California to adopt a mandate.

Piedmont schools also adopted a mandate last month. In Southern California, students in the Los Angeles Unified School District are also required to be vaccinated.

Keith Burbank, Bay City News

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.