In response to recent guidance from the state allowing all people age 65 and older to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, CSBA CEO & Executive Director Vernon M. Billy co-signed a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom urging the state to ensure that the education workforce is among the first within the Phase 1b priority group. The letter — also signed by the Association of California School Administrators, California Association of School Business Officials and California County Superintendents Educational Services Association — states that schools are uniquely suited to address the logistics of providing vaccinations for educators and applauds the state’s conclusion that “vaccinating educators will have an immediate societal impact and help mitigate the severe inequities experienced by children and their families during this pandemic.”
Read the letter in full below:
January 18, 2021
The Honorable Gavin Newsom
Governor of the State of California
State Capitol, 1st Floor
Sacramento, California 95814
Subject: Vaccination Priority for School Educators
Dear Governor Newsom:
On behalf of the undersigned statewide educational organizations, we write to urge your Administration to prioritize the vaccination of California’s educators within Phase 1b. We understand the rationale for the federal government urging states to make the vaccine available to additional groups within the adult population. However, we urge the state to ensure that the education workforce is among the first within the Phase 1b priority in order to protect a critical part of the state’s educational and economic infrastructure and remove perhaps the biggest roadblock to reopening schools for in-person instruction much sooner than if the state merely increases the availability of testing and contact tracing. In short, we ask that you work closely with local education agencies to ensure inoculations for education and childcare workers remains a top priority.
Recent discussions at past Community Vaccine Advisory Committee (CVAC) meetings have indicated there are logistical hurdles when vaccinating subgroups by occupational sector versus age. We maintain that the education sector is uniquely primed to offer seamless vaccinations to our staff at worksites, or with first in line status with community vaccinations. Schools can readily notify employees when their designated appointment will take place, whether on school campuses in areas such as cafeterias, parking lots, or fields that can be utilized to provide the proper 6 feet between patients while they rest after inoculation, or in community vaccination centers.
We applaud the state’s conclusion that vaccinating educators will have an immediate societal impact and help mitigate the severe inequities experienced by children and their families during this pandemic. With a limited vaccination sup-ply, coupled with a much larger population being included in Phase 1b, we worry that distribution will now favor healthcare providers notifying all their eligible members causing a rush to stand in line, rather than an intentional vaccination schedule that includes doses for educators.
Access to K-12 and early education has a multiplier effect on the state’s economy, especially for lower-income parents and guardians, for whom schools per-form a childcare function. Reopening schools, when safe, will allow families to return to work and revitalize California’s economy. Vaccinating our educators early is a key component to making this a reality in California. Our organizations and membership stand ready to immediately facilitate the necessary communication and logistics that will ensure a seamless, expedient inoculation schedule for our employees.
Thank you for your consideration.