A possible COVID vaccination agreement in California could reopen schools

Several California elementary school students could begin returning to the classroom in the spring if Governor Gavin Newsom and lawmakers settle their disagreements when teachers and staff receive COVID-19 vaccination, the governor said an agreement could be reached on Monday in the coming days.

The Sacramento moves come as school officials and political leaders face increasing pressure to reopen largely shuttered campuses for 11 months, and political exclusion has erupted in Los Angeles and San Francisco in recent days.

However, it becomes clear that even the gradual reopening of universities will be directly linked to a controversial question: Should educators be guaranteed a place in the line of COVID-19 vaccinations if there are far from enough doses to bypass?

Austin Beutner, the headmaster of Los Angeles, on Monday reconciled his own political greeting on the vaccination issue, saying that if he receives 25,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, he could reopen elementary schools for a quarter of a million children as general health conditions in the county allow.

County health officials depressed by an acute shortage of vaccines responded that they would not be transported – at least for a few weeks.

Newsom acknowledged on Monday that its efforts to open universities quickly – and curb an academic and emotional catastrophe for students – require further action. He said he hopes an agreement will be reached between his office and the legislature within days.

“We hope to get there this week and be able to announce this progress,” Newsom said of a possible agreement with lawmakers. “It includes a priority framework for vaccinating teachers.”

Under current state guidelines, school staff are eligible for vaccinations, but it is up to local health agencies to decide when they can make an appointment. LA county officials do not yet authorize the vaccination of teachers unless they are classified in other categories, such as those 65 years of age and older. In contrast, Long Beach, which has its own health department, allows teachers to be vaccinated, but most teachers have had difficulty in appointments and vaccinated ones are not necessarily needed for a quick reopening.

Referring to the local possibility of immunizing teachers, the governor insisted that teachers should already be treated as a priority, but “we want to clarify this further and it will be part of what we hope to announce”.

Interviews with legislative sources suggested that the Capitolium legislature wants an agreement with the governor to give teachers and school staff the opportunity to receive the vaccine intermittently before returning to the classroom on a model that allows for gradual reopening – possibly with the youngest students. they are among the first to return.

If such an agreement is reached, it will fit in closely with what the teachers ’unions have asked for, and many district leaders would like it.

At the same time, by offering patrons only to a limited group of educators, public officials hope to place outside advocates – who represent other groups who are definitely claiming priority status.

Beutner reiterated his call for vaccinations by drawing a number on it: 25,000 doses.

“There are about a quarter of a million students in kindergartens and elementary schools across the Los Angeles merger,” Beutner said in a weekly broadcast. “To vaccinate those who work in these schools who are not yet eligible, we need to vaccinate about 25,000 people. You’ve heard that right – vaccinating 25,000 people will allow us to reopen elementary school classrooms for 250,000 children and help their half a million extra family members embark on the path to recovery and get many back to work.

This 25,000 target would include principals, teachers, bus drivers, caretakers and librarians – school nurses already have access to vaccinations.

Although universities in other states and parts of California have opened up without access to vaccines, their availability has emerged as a sticking point. And timing is key as the school year slips. On the one hand, the infection rate is declining rapidly in California – increasing the likelihood of reopening faster. In contrast, vaccination is required to achieve complete immunity approximately five to six weeks after vaccination after the first dose.

Some experts and officials say a personal school year could be lost if teachers don’t have their first dose in their arms by March 1st.

For Newsom, the ground has shifted even since last week when it insisted that vaccinations are not necessary to reopen. He pointed to statements made by President Biden and the new head of the U.S. Center for Disease Prevention and Control that day.

But Newsom has already rowed against a huge political current in a state where teacher unions are among the most influential groups. His proposal on December 30 for $ 2 billion in funding to push the opening campuses received a lukewarm response from lawmakers last month.

Proponents of education are also concerned about the long-term costs of coronavirus testing – which President Biden officials see as essential. Despite billions of dollars in federal and state coronavirus support, school district leaders fear there may be too little left to address the harms of long-term learning loss and social isolation.

Members of the state senate and general assembly met over the weekend and beyond in “advanced conversations” about funding for the reopening of universities, sources in the talks said.

Under a plan drawn up by the legislature, employees will receive vaccinations before returning to personal learning. Teachers ’unions are also urging lawmakers to have immediate access to vaccinations for teachers already working at the university. Sources asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal the details of the discussions. Another issue to consider would leave room for maneuver over the reopening of local tank district officials.

Newsom supported gradual reopening from inception, but did not support immunization as a prerequisite. The administration also wants the resilience of districts in purple counties to be re-opened – the state’s rating in areas with the worst health crises.

Most school districts in Los Angeles County shut down personal services in December and January at the urging of county health officials amid dangerous fluctuations in coronavirus cases.

But from Feb. 1, with the county’s blessing, several school districts resumed personal education, using previously approved exemptions, to serve students in transitional kindergarten until second grade. These and other districts also take advantage of state rules that allow up to 25% of school enrollment at a given time to help students with special needs, such as English students or students with disabilities.

LAe City Councilor Joe Buscaino said last week he would ask the city to sue LA Unified to force a faster reopening, building its strategy on lawsuits filed against San Francisco’s own school system last week.

In San Francisco, teachers and school district leaders signed a pilot agreement over the weekend on the key details of returning to college. The pact sets out scenarios for health conditions that have yet to be met.

To reopen the K-12 campuses, the agreement requires San Francisco to set the state’s red level of coronavirus health indicators, and returning teachers must also be vaccinated, the local union’s California Teachers Association says. Below the red level, the seven-day average of daily infections would be 4-7 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

The San Francisco case ratio is 12.5 per 100,000 for nationwide comparison.

The pre-San Francisco agreement is stricter than the recently revised state guidelines, relying instead on an earlier version of state rules. The current standard for reopening primary schools is 25 / 100,000 without vaccinations. This means that San Francisco Unified has the right to completely reopen its elementary schools without further delay. The norm between seventh and 12th grade – 7 cases per 100 cases – was not achieved.

The proposed San Francisco agreement would allow schools to reopen without teacher immunization if the city reaches the orange level, which would be 1 to 3.9 new daily cases per 100,000 residents.

The adjusted case ratio in LA County is 38.7 / 100,000.

Union leaders are adhering to stricter standards than their state – even when teachers are vaccinated – in order to protect the families of the students they serve, said Jeff Freitas, president of the California Teachers Association.

It may take months for the vaccines to be approved and made available to children under 16 years of age.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention joined the Biden government last week to confirm that universities can open without teacher vaccinations, provided they follow strict security protocols. Conclusions on school safety data have been the subject of heated debate.