School district pushes for coronavirus vaccines for teachers

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SAN DIEGO — San Diego Unified is one of many school districts that are asking the county to give teachers and staff priority for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It’s a reasonable request and would have a lot of benefits to the community,” said Richard Barrera, vice president of the San Diego Unified School Board.

California is now vaccinating all of Phase 1A, which includes healthcare workers, nursing home residents and emergency responders, and the first tier of Phase 1B, comprised of people 65 and up. Educators are also in Phase 1B but further down the list.

The school board argues to get the economy going again, kids must get back to school, which requires teachers get vaccinated to protect them from the coronavirus. If they were given permission to start vaccinating, San Diego Unified said they would handle the logistics of getting teachers their doses.

“We have 15,000 employees. We don’t anticipate that all 15,000 of those employees would all come back to school at once,” Barrera said. “So if we’re talking about simply being able to vaccinate a few thousand employees, that’s a day’s worth of vaccinations at the Petco Park site, just for comparison.”

There are approximately 60,000 educators in school districts across San Diego County. Vaccinating them may sound simple, but like testing before it, nothing is as easy as it seems when it comes to COVID-19.

“There’s a lot of confusion at all levels — at the state level, at the county level. I understand the county’s challenge right now is that it doesn’t have enough supply to vaccinate everybody even in that top 1A tier,” Barrera said.

As of Monday, 1.9% of San Diego County residents aged 16 and up have been fully vaccinated.

“It’s really a relatively small group of educators that we need to get vaccinated so we can get students to start to come back to the classroom, and it really should be a priority,” Barrera said.

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