Teachers vaccinations begin at at BCHD’s AdventurePlex in Manhattan Beach [Update]
by Kevin Cody
Approximately 1,200 teachers at 11 South Bay public school districts began receiving Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination shots on Wednesday at AdventurePlex, in Manhattan Beach.
AdventurePlex is a children’s play facility owned by the Beach Cities Health District, which is coordinating administration of the vaccinations. Volunteer medical professionals and fire fighters administered the vaccination shots on the play facility’s indoor basketball court.
Los Angeles County allotted 1,280 doses of the vaccine to the 11 districts, which represents about 10 percent of the 11 districts’ teachers and support staff, BCHD CEO Tom Bakaly said in an interview last Friday.
Manhattan Beach School Board President Jen Fenton said in an interview last Friday, “I was told today by Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn’s office that these allocations numbers should be the lowest we see, and the amount of doses available to our educational staff will only increase from here on out.”
Bakaly said the individual districts will decide which of their teachers and support will receive the vaccination shots.
At last Tuesday’s Redondo Beach School Board Meeting, Redondo Superintendent Steven Keller released a list prioritizing the order in which his teachers and staff will be vaccinated. At the top of Redondo’s list of recipients is the Child Development Center staff, whose 110 personnel would account for almost all of Redondo’s 140 vaccine allotments. The Redondo list generally moved from the lower grades to higher grades, ending with the 250 members of the high school staff. Redondo has approximately 1,100 employees.
Last Wednesday, Manhattan Beach Superintendent Mike Matthews told his board that teachers of disadvantaged students, (those with Individualized Education Plans), will receive first priority for Manhattan’s allotment of 90 vaccine doses, followed by staff assigned to work on campus as of March 8.
Shawn Chen, president of the Manhattan Beach Unified Teachers Association (MBUTA), said in an interview, “The district and union leadership are working together to get vaccines as quickly as possible for any MBUSD teacher who wants one.”
Chen said she agrees with her administration’s decision to give the vaccines to special education instructors first. “They have been teaching in-person with no vaccines for several months,” she noted.
But she also noted, “As usual, our teachers are resourceful in getting appointments where they can and are not waiting to get those allocated. This is clearly an issue with the complexity of the vaccine roll-out at the state level.”
Effective March 1, all teachers in California became eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations at public points of distribution.
Hermosa Beach Superintendent Jason Johnson said, in an interview last Friday, that Hermosa teachers already on campus will be given priority for Hermosa’s 20-dose allotment.
Bakaly emphasized that the vaccines are being administered by appointment, exclusively to school district personnel. Bakaly said BCHD has been licensed to administer the vaccine to the general public, but has not been allotted vaccines for the general public.
Superintendent Matthews wrote in a letter to district employees last Wednesday, that the County allotments are based on districts’ COVID-19 case rates and percentage of students receiving free lunches. “So we will not be getting as many allotments as some, but we will definitely be receiving them. And the good news is we will continue to receive new batches until all of our employees are vaccinated.
The 11 public South Bay school districts who began receiving the vaccines this week are: Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox, Palos Verdes, and Wiseburn. ER