The Los Angeles Unified School District proposed a massive COVID-19 vaccination site for the county’s school workers at Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium Wednesday, when the district launched its first effort to provide shots to eligible employees at the Royball Learning Center in Echo Park.
The Central L.A. location began administering the Moderna vaccine at 9 a.m. to LAUSD employees 65 and older, as well as those working at COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites, according to district officials.
“I’m so happy that I got my vaccination so that I can go back and teach my students,” Mary Rarang, a special education teacher at Hamilton High School in Palms, told KTLA. She said that while virtual classes have been helpful, her students need in-person interaction.
Beginning March 1, educators and child-care workers who aren’t already eligible will join the pool of people in the county who can get inoculated against COVID-19.
Qualified LAUSD employees should get an email notification to schedule an appointment.
While it’s unclear how an ongoing shortage of shots could affect LAUSD’s efforts, the district announced on Wednesday that it had been working with the city of Inglewood, the Los Angeles Rams and Hollywood Park in preparing a larger vaccination site on the grounds of SoFi Stadium.
That operation would have the capacity to vaccinate more than 10,000 people a day and would serve public and private school teachers, administrators and other school personnel in the county, according to LAUSD.
Cedars-Sinai and Anthem Blue Cross will support the undertaking.
The school district said it had already asked the county earlier this week to authorize the vaccination site.
On Tuesday, coronavirus rates in L.A. County dipped low enough to allow for the reopening of elementary schools. But LAUSD — the nation’s second largest school district — continues to negotiate with union officials on how to move forward.
LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner and union leaders have emphasized that vaccines should be available to workers before in-person classes can resume.
SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias said the proposed vaccination site in Inglewood “would mark a major step forward to protect our most vulnerable communities and begin the process for an eventual safe return to in-person classes.”
In a statement Wednesday, Beutner acknowledged the drop in COVID-19 rates in L.A. County, but he underscored the disproportionate impact of the pandemic within the vast region.
“In the communities we serve, 80% of the families live in poverty, more than 80% of families are Black and Latino and the rates of infection are significantly higher. … While overall COVID levels have come down and that’s a very good thing, it’s important to note that large disparities between communities still exist, and they have a direct impact on our ability to reopen schools,” Beutner said.
He added, “[Ten] days ago, I announced a plan to reopen schools in 60 days. The clock is ticking. We’ve done our part – school campuses are ready. The community is doing its part to bring down levels of the virus. The final critical piece is vaccinations for all who work in schools. Let’s make that a real priority so we can re-open schools in the next 50 days.”