New state vaccine push focuses on K-12 education workers; a Fresno councilman urges schools to open

Updated: Mar 6

Speaking also as a parent, city councilman, Miguel Arias feels that Fresno schools should be able to open safely with a plan just like the City of Fresno did

By Bo Tefu | California Black Media and ONME Newswire (podcast)

While the state of California wrangles with a plan to get education workers vaccinated, city of Fresno's district three council representative, Miguel Arias urges schools to open safely.

Producer host Julia Dudley Najieb featured excerpts of a press conference from this week led by Arias who also highlighted the voices of parents struggling to get by as they stay at home with their children, rather than being able to go back to work to feed their households--a major catastrophe of this pandemic has dealt with the lack of childcare since the COVID-19 virus took a strong hold on the economy.

Sprawling parking lots at California State University Los Angeles and Oakland-Alameda Coliseum in “Oaktown” are two locations in California where the state is set to conduct focused vaccine pushes for education workers. The effort is part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s health equity plan as he prioritizes the reopening of schools.

According to the equity-centered plan, as of March 1, 10 % of the state’s vaccine supply is dedicated to K-12 educators and staff. The mobile sites and vaccine drives will focus on “counties and school communities weighted by equity, including the proportion of students from low-income families, English learners, and homeless youth,” state officials said.

“Our top priority is getting students back in the classroom as safely and quickly as possible, and the expanded access to vaccines will build on the momentum and confidence that we can do so with urgency,” Gov. Newsom said.

Candidates eligible for the vaccination include teachers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, childcare workers, and site-based administrators.

Editorial credit: javi_indy /

State officials have committed to providing 75,000 vaccinations each week at mobile sites set up to administer vaccines for registered school staff statewide. The health equity plan aims to prioritize vaccine access for communities disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus. The equity plan also addresses the ethical issues presented by reports of individuals from outside target communities, including educators at a Los Angeles-based private school, skipping the line to get early vaccinations from medical providers.

Gov. Newsom said the state officials are working closely with medical providers, healthcare administrators, and local organizations to speed up vaccine delivery across California.

“The education professionals who nurture and support our children deserve to be and have been prioritized for vaccines, and I am proud to accelerate those efforts in all 58 counties,” Gov. Newsom said.

According to state officials, prioritization is based on occupational health exposure. Eligible candidates will receive single-use codes to schedule vaccine appointments. The health equity plan is an integral addition to Gov. Newsom’s “Safe Schools for All” plan which initiated plans to vaccinate education workers in January.

So far, 35 state counties have vaccinated education workers based on supply since the launch of multiple mobile sites statewide.