Workers prepare a vaccination station at LAUSD's Panorama High School during a media tour of the campus on March 10, 2021.

By Kyle Stokes/LAist

Originally published May 17, 2021

Starting next week, the Los Angeles Unified School District will offer on-campus COVID-19 vaccinations to students in the district’s middle and high schools.

Superintendent Austin Beutner announced in his weekly video address that mobile vaccination teams will begin visiting schools next Monday. He said the teams will visit each school “at least once before school ends and again during the summer.”

The district’s announcement comes as public health officials struggle to reach younger Latino and Black Angelenos for vaccinations. With very few LAUSD middle or high school students currently attending classes on-campus, though, it’s not clear how big of a game-changer this effort will be.

Still, the announcement fits a pattern. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Beutner has attempted to convince various authorities that schools are natural allies in public health campaigns. He has said parents trust schools more than the public health establishment — a parent, he argued, is more likely to take a phone call from a school employee than a county contact tracer. Perhaps the same logic applies to vaccines.

Schedule Coming Soon

Beutner said the district will share the vaccination schedule soon. After the schedule is released, Beutner said parents will use LAUSD’s Daily Pass website — a district platform for submitting a daily health check and scheduling COVID-19 tests — to make appointments.

“This isn’t a simple undertaking but it’s been done before,” Beutner said. “An entire generation of children received polio vaccinations at schools.”

Beutner likened the effort to LAUSD’s COVID-19 testing program. The district has deployed a small army of mobile testers who aim to screen every student for the virus once a week.

But unlike with testing, a minor cannot receive the vaccine without a parent or guardian present. Beutner said LAUSD will offer paid time off to its employees to allow them to attend their child’s vaccine appointment.

L.A. County public health officials recently released a consent form parents can sign to allow their 16- or 17-year-olds to get vaccinated at a county-run site without a guardian present. Beutner made no mention of this form.

LAUSD already hosts semi-permanent vaccination clinics on 19 of its campuses, and has partnerships with a dozen more clinic providers.

This report is reprinted with permission from Southern California Public Radio. © 2021 Southern California Public Radio. All rights reserved.

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