Several hundred San Luis Obispo County educators are in line to get vaccinated during the first week of March as part of a statewide effort to get schools and child care centers reopened.
FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
On Feb. 19, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that starting March 1, 10 percent of the state’s weekly doses of COVID-19 vaccine would go toward school and child care employees returning to in-person classes. SLO County Health Officer Penny Borenstein said at a press briefing on Feb. 24 that the county plans to honor that mandate, reserving 10 percent of the county’s vaccine doses for high-priority employees in those sectors.
“This is important, especially as schools are looking at the prospect of opening more widely,” Borenstein said. “We are going to try to keep step with meeting that need for those, on a prioritized basis, who are in person and as they move back into higher risk settings, more students coming on board. These staff and child care providers will work with their employers to try to develop a prioritized scheme and to try to get as many people through the system as quickly as they can.”
Jim Brescia, superintendent of the SLO County Office of Education, said there are roughly 600 vaccination appointments available to local education and child care employees from March 1 through 5. Allocations to individual school districts depend on how many employees are working in higher risk situations, he said, like those with students who struggle to follow COVID-19 safety protocols or employees with documented medical issues working in-person.
“We’re just trying to prioritize those who are most vulnerable and most at risk first,” Brescia told New Times
Eighty-nine San Luis Coastal Unified School District employees are slated to get vaccines the first week of March, according to Director of Human Resources Christin Newlon. San Luis Coastal is prioritizing employees who are already working on campus, those with documented medical issues who plan to return for in-person classes, staff in special education classrooms who are required to have close physical contact with students, and staff in preschool and transitional kindergarten classes, where younger children often don’t wear masks.
Some special educators in intensive settings have already been vaccinated, Newlon said.
Lucia Mar Unified School District, which received 112 vaccine allotments, is working on a similarly tiered vaccine rollout among its employees, according to spokesperson Amy Jacobs, starting first with employees who are already working with students in classrooms. ∆