Dear AUSD Community,
I want to inform you of a major step forward in our efforts to reopen in-person instruction safely. COVID-19 vaccinations for educators became available for the first time this week at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum vaccination megasite. Many of our AUSD teachers and staff, all of whom are part of the Phase 1B vaccination tier, were able to receive their first COVID-19 vaccination shot.
This shift in the availability of vaccines is an outcome of Governor Newsom’s push to reopen schools for in-person learning. The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) coordinated with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to prioritize appointments for educators and school site staff specifically at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum FEMA vaccination site by working closely with the unions for those groups. I think that our entire community will be pleased to know that this additional layer of safety is now available to these professionals who are the foundation of our school community.
There is no requirement that educators be vaccinated before returning to the classroom, indeed, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated guidance last week stating in part, “Access to vaccination should not be considered a condition for reopening schools for in-person instruction. Even after teachers and staff are vaccinated, schools need to continue mitigation measures for the foreseeable future, including requiring masks in schools and physical distancing.” Also, the Albany Children’s Center (ACC) preschool program has been open since November 2020 without incident because of the safety protocols in place there. However, vaccines provide a strong protection for our staff that is wholeheartedly welcome and a great relief to many people.
Please note that because of vaccine supply issues, not all staff were able to schedule an appointment for this week; however, we are anticipating more good news in the immediate future regarding vaccinations for educators. County officials advise that the vaccination process will take weeks, possibly months, before all educators and school site staff are fully vaccinated.
Have a restful, relaxing, and safe break.
Frank Wells, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Albany Unified School District