PHOTO: World Civilizations and psychology teacher Holly Istas got her vaccine after they became available to teachers from Yolo County. (Courtesy: H. Istas)
By Sarah Kim,
On Feb. 16, Yolo County announced COVID-19 vaccine availability for teachers, farmworkers and other essential workers. As one of the conditions for reopening schools, the Davis Joint Unified School District must allow all staff and teachers the opportunity to be vaccinated. Through coordination with Yolo County, DJUSD is making strides towards their goal of reopening schools.
Maria Clayton, a public information officer for DJUSD, says as discussions continue with Yolo County Health Department, DJUSD hopes to work with the county to hold a large vaccination event where all employees can receive the dose at the same time.
With this goal, there are multiple ways available for teachers and DJUSD staff to get the vaccine. DJUSD continues to encourage employees to sign up for the vaccines to get as many people vaccinated in the shortest amount of time possible.
Yolo County communications manager Jenny Tan explains how the country holds special close clinics like the one that DJUSD proposed if it’s the easiest solution for distributing vaccines. The efficiency will depend on the spacing of the clinic location, how many staff and teachers there will be, and other factors.
Yolo County will distribute the vaccine through public sign-ups and special close clinics, according to Tan. She mentions how it’s important to distribute through multiple ways as the slots fill in fast, but also because it’s important to be understandable to everyone’s different situations.
“We are aware that not everyone has the same level of internet skill/accessibility. So that’s why we will do it in a couple different ways to be able to meet the needs of different teachers,” Tan said.
However, there are still some teachers from DJUSD who got vaccines prior to the announcement, like Tracy Stapleton who currently works as an economics and government teacher for DHS.
Stapleton was able to get his vaccine with his wife who was able to book an appointment through Sacramento County Public Health, as he met all the requirements.
“When the opportunity was there, I got the vaccine without any hesitation,” he said.
Some other teachers from DJUSD were able to get vaccines as soon as the announcement was made. Mele Echiburu, a Spanish teacher from Emerson Junior High, was able to successfully get her first vaccine from Dignity Health in Woodland. Echiburu mentions how she was on hold for 40 minutes on the phone while trying to book her slot.
“I didn’t find that I got the vaccine early. Personally, I feel like teachers should’ve been prioritized earlier because once teachers can get vaccinated we can open up schools again and then the community can get back to work,” she said.