Prizes, contests, cash grants: LAUSD to offer students incentives in sweeping effort to vaccinate 300K students

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Alex Olvera, 15, is vaccinated against COVID-19 in a gym at Manual Arts High School, south of downtown on May 17, 2021. (Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Alex Olvera, 15, is vaccinated against COVID-19 in a gym at Manual Arts High School, south of downtown on May 17, 2021. (Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

If it takes a mule to kick student vaccinations into gear, Los Angeles school leaders are willing to give it a try.

The L.A. Unified School District is poised to launch a sweeping effort to immunize about 300,000 students at 250 campuses against COVID-19, which officials see as a crucial public health strategy and a vital tactic to lure students back to badly needed in-person schooling. But they worry that simply arriving at neighborhood schools with Pfizer doses won’t be enough to reach students 12 and older — and their parents.

They need incentives, prizes, contests, cash grants — and at Wilson High School in El Sereno, the energy of their “Mighty Mule.” The mascot and other representatives of the school, such as teachers and other staff, are trusted, familiar, even popular. They could prove effective public health ambassadors.

“Everyone will listen to the mule — and teachers who are in daily dialogue with their students,” Supt. Austin Beutner said Monday during a news conference at Wilson.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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