LAUSD ready to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations and reopen

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With Gov. Gavin Newsom pledging 10% of the COVID-19 vaccine supply for educators, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner says the vaccination super site at So-Fi Stadium will get schools open.

"We can open certainly this school year. Let's look at the calendar," he said. "We offered to do this together with our friends in Hollywood Park, together with the Rams, with the support of Anthem, with the support of Cedars Sinai. It's not just making the vaccine available, it's doing it in a coordinated fashion."

The state's $6 billion relief plan for COVID-impacted schools, plus setting aside a vaccine supply for education will open schools before the end of the school year, said Beutner. He says the plan is in place.

"We've got a comprehensive set of plans that all cost money, which will be invested in the classroom. Most importantly, the legislature has given us for the first time, clear standards, where we must reopen."

He says they've made vaccination for educators the priority and those are two essential pieces to making sure LAUSD gets schools to open.

Now that the governor has promised more vaccinations from the Biden administration, which can be set aside for educators, the L.A. city schools superintendent's plan to get teachers vaccinated can work.

"It'll take about 25,000 people vaccinated to open our early education, provide instruction for special education students - 25,000 people vaccinated, 25,000 people over two weeks is less than 1% of the doses of the vaccine coming to the state of California," Beutner said.

"The question I would ask is, we've got to be able to find that, because we all understand the imperative," Beutner added.

This week, the school board cut 133 campus cops and reduced school police funding by $25 million. Beutner says reducing the size of the campus police force will not make schools less safe.

"We're taking sworn officers, putting them right near the campus," he said. "We want to make sure that we still have quick response in those true law enforcement emergencies, where we need to make sure all in schools are kept safe.

"At the same time, we want to change the mindset on a school campus to make sure that we're doing what we can for the work of prevention non-intervention, more mentoring more counseling more support and more direct instruction," he added.

Beutner explained the school board's decision to add $200 million to 50 targeted schools to improve education for Black students.

"We've lost a generation because we haven't made enough progress, we have to make progress. This is our stake in the ground to say we're not going to let the lack of adequacy or dollars be the constraint that historically has been part of the problem," he said.

Beutner said it's going to take a new approach to measure the progress LAUSD is making and hold itself accountable.
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