Why LAUSD's Superintendent Says Schools Are Ideal Sites For Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution

The first shipment of Pfizer's vaccine arrived Sunday night at LAX.

Hollywood High Teachers Assistant Yolanda Franco conducts class.

What to Know

  • More than 230,000 COVID-19 tests have been conducted on school campuses in the LAUSD.
  • The first vaccine shipments arrived Sunday night at LAX.
  • The first doses will be given to front line heath care workers.

Los Angeles Unified School District campuses would be an ideal setting for administering COVID-19 vaccines to students and their families, Superintendent Austin Beutner said Monday, while again imploring elected officials to provide financial support for schools to prepare for an eventual return to in-person instruction.

Noting that more than 230,000 COVID-19 tests have been conducted on school campuses, Beutner said the campuses are geographically positioned to provide access to the vaccine -- first to essential school workers and eventually to students and families.

"The country faces an enormous challenge in making sure the vaccine is made available to essential workers, like the staff who work in our schools as well as those who have been most impacted by the virus: low-income communities of color like those served by our schools,'' Beutner said in an address to the school community. "Health experts will need to answer the question of how to provide
people with access to the vaccine, including shipping and distributing the vaccine, and training clinical staff to properly administer it.

"Schools may be a good answer to the question of where the vaccine can best be

Beutner said LAUSD is organized around 42 groupings of schools that each serve a local community. Within each community, there are several hundred thousand people, he said.

Coronavirus Deaths in Your City and State — and Across the US

These charts use daily coronavirus death data from Johns Hopkins University to show the seven-day moving average of deaths at the city, state and country level.

The impact of coronavirus varies enormously in the United States from one place to another.

Source: Johns Hopkins University.
Credit: Visuals by Amy O’Kruk/NBC, data analysis by Ron Campbell/NBC

"It makes sense to provide the vaccine to students and their families at a place they trust, where they are almost every day -- their local neighborhood school," he said.

Beutner and the top school administrators in New York and Chicago had an op-ed in The Washington Post over the weekend, repeating Beutner's call for a "Marshall Plan'' -- the coordinated relief effort for Western Europe following World War II -- for supporting schools as they look to return to in-person instruction once the pandemic eases.

Beutner said there has been a great deal of attention to the pandemic's impact on hospitals, emergency rooms, businesses and the overall economy.

"There's not been enough media coverage or attention paid to the plight of children during this crisis,'' he said. ``Not just their struggles with online education, but the impact this is having on their social and emotional wellbeing. This issue too is very real. There's an old saying: `Just because you can't measure something, doesn't mean it's not important.' This is even more important when it comes to children. Their wellness can't be easily measured. They lack voice in the conversation ... but their needs are very real.''

Beutner shared a bit of good news amid the pandemic, saying the Class of 2020 had a record-high graduation rate of 82.9%, something he called a remarkable accomplishment. But he stressed that the ongoing pandemic and issues with online learning will impact future graduation rates.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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