In what was described as an “important step” to restarting in-class learning, the Los Angeles Unified School District is gearing up to open a coronavirus vaccine site at one of its schools this week.
LAUSD’s first COVID-19 vaccination center will be at Roybal Learning Center, located at 1200 Colton Street near downtown Los Angeles, Superintendent Austin Beutner announced Monday.
The site will open Wednesday, with the first group eligible to receive the Moderna vaccine including school staff who are at least 65 years old and district employees who work at coronavirus and vaccination sites,” Beutner said in his weekly announcement.
As part of the effort, LAUSD will have its own system for registration and scheduling, as well as tracking vaccine supply. The features will include rules to sorting high-risk individuals and a waitlist for low-risk individuals.
Beutner noted the eligibility to get the vaccine will be “consistent with current public health rules.”
Currently, school nurses and people over the age of 65 are eligible to receive the vaccine in Los Angeles County. Teachers and child care workers are expected to be added to that list as early as next week as the county expands its vaccination effort, according to Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
On top of that, California officials announced last Friday that residents ages 16 to 64 with certain health conditions and disabilities will also be eligible for the shots beginning March 15.
While Roybal will be home to the district’s first COVID-19 vaccine center, it won’t be LAUSD’s last. “We’e working to open as many school-based sites as possible,” Beutner said.
What’s unclear, however, is whether the ongoing vaccine supply shortage will impact the new site.
The superintendent’s announcement comes just days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its road map for reopening classrooms during the pandemic. While an important step, teacher vaccinations aren’t a prerequisite for resuming in-person school, the nation’s top public health agency said.
Even so, inoculating all who work at LAUSD campuses will still be critical to “creating the safest possible school environment,” Beutner said. “This will not only protect the health and safety of the essential employees in schools, but will provide enormous benefit to children and their families, leading to a faster reopening of schools.”
A week ago, the superintendent said if 25,000 teachers and staff received the vaccine, L.A. Unified elementary school classrooms could reopen to a quarter-million students as soon as permitted under state guidelines. The nation’s second-largest school district serves approximately 650,000 students overall.
Beutner reminded people that, as of Monday, the hard-hit Los Angeles area has not yet met California’s standards to resume classroom learning.