(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

School staff and teachers prioritized at Oakland Coliseum this week

Educators will have two days reserved for them this week at the Oakland Coliseum vaccination site, state officials said Monday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday announced that two Federal Emergency Management Agency sites, one previously identified as the Oakland Coliseum, would reserve Thursday and Friday for educators only. The announcement came as Newsom and legislators reached a deal over a $6.6 billion school reopening and recovery package to be voted on Thursday, in a bid to return grades K-2 to in-person learning in the next month.

Doses given to educators later this week would be in addition to the 10 percent allocation for school staff and child care workers previously announced, Newsom added.

“I think that everyone that wants to be vaccinated should be,” Newsom said, although he added: “We do not think vaccination is a prerequisite to opening schools.”

San Francisco school staff have been added to The City’s priority vaccination list, and San Francisco Unified School District finalized agreements last week around safety requirements for a return to in-person instruction. The agreement calls for a return after The City reaches the state’s red COVID-19 tier with vaccines offered, or under orange without. The City is expected to move from the most restrictive purple tier to red on Tuesday.

Per The City’s request, SFUSD has provided a list of employees prioritized for in-person learning to the San Francisco Health Service System, which manages health benefits for city employees, said spokesperson Laura Dudnick. HSS passes on those lists to Kaiser Permanente to support registration, according to The City’s vaccination plan.

“These roles include student nutrition workers, custodians, teachers, nurses, social workers, teacher aides, and site administrators,” Dudnick said. “We’re eager for all staff to be vaccinated as quickly as possible and we are developing a system for staff to be able to self-report once they become vaccinated.”

Staff at schools in Wave 1 and Wave 2 of reopening plans, which span 38 school sites, are on the list, Dudnick added. It’s unclear how many SFUSD employees are on the list and the extent to which being on the list will speed up or facilitate getting vaccinated.

The district has directed staff to California’s vaccination notification system, MyTurn, to sign up for available slots through audio and text messages. San Francisco’s COVID Command Center on Friday told the Examiner they were “working to prioritize them consistent with state guidance” but on Monday, said SFUSD has the authority to set individual vaccine access prioritization for all educators, not just public employees.

”The City stands ready to support the distribution of these vaccines in any way, but the assignment of vaccine slots is ultimately up to the school district,” the command center said in an email. “The plan for the distribution of these specific educator allocations [sic] has not been operationalized yet, and until it is, all educators continue to be eligible to sign up for vaccine appointments at https://sf.gov/get-vaccinated-against-covid-19.”

While San Francisco educators have two days to access a site for school workers this week, Santa Clara County educators will have their own vaccination clinic. County officials on Monday announced the launch of an educator-focused clinic on county fairgrounds with capacity for more than 500 appointments a day.

In a roadmap released by the California Department of Public Health on Thursday, the Oakland Coliseum was identified as the FEMA site of a targeted vaccination drive for education workers but did not have a date set. California State University Los Angeles is the other site identified.

State officials would grant school staff an expedited appointment based on whether they are or will soon be exposed to COVID-19 risks in the workplace. Education workers include teachers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, food service workers, custodians, site administrators, and so on. If coming directly from a state allocation, they must be already working or scheduled to return within 21 days.

SFUSD does not currently have a date to reopen for in-person instruction. In addition to vaccinations, the district still needs to sign a contract with a testing provider, after federal officials warned of risks with the previously selected company.

The district and United Educators of San Francisco are also still negotiating on what the schedule will look like when demand for in-person instruction exceeds space, which is expected to be the case for about a third of elementary schools. Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton stepped in Thursday as a mediator after tensions arose in negotiations.

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