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L.A. school district to open vaccination site for staff

The first COVID-19 vaccination site based at a Los Angeles school will open this week, L.A. schools Supt. Austin Beutner announced Monday.

The location will be the Roybal Learning Center, just west of downtown Los Angeles, with a scheduled opening day of Wednesday. Those eligible for immunizations will be school district staff age 65 and older and district employees currently working at coronavirus testing and vaccination sites, “consistent with current public health rules,” Beutner said.

The vaccination clinic is the first targeted specifically at L.A. Unified School District employees but is unlikely to lead to the swift reopening of K-12 campuses as both Beutner and leaders of the teachers union have said it is not yet safe to do so. Beutner has called vaccines for school staff a “critical piece” of reopening. Union leaders have demanded it as a prerequisite for reopening.

Neither state nor federal guidelines specify vaccines as essential for safe operation of campuses, provided that other comprehensive safety measures are carried out.

Beutner, who has called for using schools as vaccination sites across the school system, has said that it would take about 25,000 immunizations to open the district’s elementary schools.

County infection rates are widely expected to soon drop low enough to open elementary schools under state guidelines, but school districts will not be required to do so.

Although school nurses of any age, and people 65 and older, have been eligible to receive vaccines elsewhere, the effort at Roybal is the first within L.A. Unified to specifically target school district employees. Overall, vaccine doses remain in short supply.

Also on Monday, demonstrators planned a rally in downtown L.A. calling for the immediate reopening of campuses in Los Angeles County.

Separately, Beutner briefly previewed a proposal that would remove all school police officers from high school campuses and ban the use of pepper spray on students. These proposals arose from the work of a task force that examined policing at schools. The proposal will be considered for action at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

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