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Association of California School Administrators
Alameda County Superintendent of Schools L.K. Monroe speaks during a press conference Feb. 19 announcing priority vaccinations for educators in California.
Educators get vaccine priority; high-contact sports to resume
March 1, 2021
As of March 1, educators throughout the state of California now have reserved doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the new statewide priority for educators during a news conference Feb. 19. It means 75,000 doses every week for educators and child care workers in support of efforts to get children back into schools. Although 35 counties had already prioritized vaccinating educators, Newsom said the move to standardize priority for educators was made possible due to an expected increase in the vaccine supply from the federal government.
The announcement was made from the Alameda County Office of Education, where Federal Emergency Management Agency and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services recently established a mass vaccination site at the Oakland Coliseum.
During the news conference, Superintendent of Alameda County Schools L. K. Monroe shared that one component of the mass vaccination site is mobile vaccination trucks that are available to inoculate employees in the county’s 18 school districts. Monroe said the first educator received their shot Feb. 18 — a custodian who is a 20-year veteran of the Hayward Unified School District.
“In addition to custodians, there are teacher’s aides, there are teachers, all members of the education community,” Monroe said. “Not only are these the folks who have been in front of students, these are those who will soon be in front of students.”
Monroe said the office of education is making sure educators have “all the protection necessary” for a safe return to school.
“We know that school is the best place for our children,” she said. “We are working all day every day to ensure that this happens, and this is just one small step in bringing that a little closer to reality.”
Youth sports
Newsom also announced new California Department of Public Health guidance that will allow more school sports to resume, citing the profound physical and mental impact that coronavirus has had on student athletes.
Newsom said that after looking at the science, including CDC information and data on transmissions, new CDPH guidelines will permit outdoor high-contact sports to resume.
Beginning Feb. 26, schools in counties with less than 14 cases per 100,000 residents were able to resume outdoor high-contact sports, such as football, rugby and water polo, as long as there is weekly testing for coaches and players.
Newsom acknowledged the Let Them Play CA coalition, which has organized rallies at the Capitol and a letter-writing campaign to reinstate youth sports. He thanked them for their strong advocacy and support in creating the new guidelines.
Newsom was joined at the press conference by San Francisco 49ers Josh Johnson and Arik Armstead, who spoke from experience of the benefits of sports.
“[Kids] need camaraderie, they need to be around their friends, they need it for their health, both mentally and physically,” Armstead said. “I’m extremely honored and excited that they’ll be able to return and play again.”
Johnson said that without sports, he doesn’t know where he would be.
“Sports is the only place where we commonly come together from all different walks of life to be able to find a mutual understanding,” he said. “To be able to give that to these kids at this young age is very important.”