LBUSD vaccine rollout to begin Jan. 25, school district says

The first COVID-19 vaccines for Long Beach Unified School District employees are tentatively scheduled to be available in the final week of January, the district confirmed today.

“Our school district is working with Long Beach Health and Human Services to plan COVID-19 vaccination clinics for our employees who wish to be vaccinated,” said LBUSD spokesperson Chris Eftychiou on Tuesday. “We’ve told employees that the vaccination clinics are tentatively scheduled for the week of Jan. 25, and that they should watch their email for further details in the coming days. Beyond that, we’re not able to release further details because we’re still finalizing logistics with the health department.”

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia has said the vaccine-eligible group that includes teachers, known as “phase 1b,” was set to begin receiving vaccinations this week, but that apparently does not mean all LBUSD teachers and other education workers will immediately begin receiving the shot.

Phase 1b also includes other groups such as people over age 75, corrections officers, police and food workers. The city said an announcement would be coming soon on the exact timing for those categories of people to get the vaccine.

The city’s broader rollout for education workers will include city college, private and charter schools and university educators. Priority will first be given to those who work in Long Beach.

Educators who live in Long Beach but work outside of the city are encouraged to contact their employer, but Long Beach residents who are not able to get a vaccine through their employer will have a chance to get the vaccine through the city.

Eftychiou said the district will not require employees to get the vaccine. He said the Long Beach Health Department has the lead on setting up the vaccination clinics. Because the city has its own health department, it has some added leeway to set its own rules about who receives the vaccine and when.

“We’re happy to partner with them,” Eftychiou said. “This is obviously a big priority for the school district. We are the largest employer in the city and, as we said a few weeks back, we are the community. We were really pleased to get the news that the vaccine was going to be here possibly in January.”

Because the district has 12,000 employees as well as 70,000 students and their parents are waiting for news about when schools may reopen, the question of when teachers will be vaccinated is central for the city.

The first stage of the LBUSD’s rollout is expected to be completed over the span of just a few days, according to a senior district official who requested anonymity because details of the plan have not been made public.

The target is for the first doses of the Moderna vaccine to be available to employees districtwide between Jan. 25 and Jan. 29, with the second dose to be available 28 days after the first. The current LBUSD plan is to reopen for in-person learning district-wide on March 1.

Plans are still being finalized about where the vaccination clinics will be held, although it is likely that school facilities (including schools) and district nurses will be employed in the rapid rollout, according to the source.

While the Los Angeles Unified School District recently said it will require vaccination for its students, LBUSD superintendent Jill Baker has said Long Beach is not planning on enacting that requirement unless the state mandates it.

Staff writer Kelly Puente contributed to this report.

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