The Berkeley Unified School District Board of Education unanimously passed a Resolution in Support of Expedited Vaccinations for Educators at the December 9 School Board meeting. The Resolution notes that our public education system, which is essential to the individual and community well-being of our society, is facing unprecedented challenges due to the Coronavirus pandemic. These challenges include the academic and social emotional toll on students, as well as the need to rapidly pivot to distance learning; clean and equip school facilities to adapt to new health protocols and social distancing; and assess and address the risks to teachers, staff, and students.
The resolution further notes that as long as our schools cannot open, children suffer, as do many parents and guardians of children who cannot go to school. The inability to safely open schools has threatened educational outcomes for many students, especially our most vulnerable students; the mental and physical health of many students; the lives and livelihoods of many families in our community; and the local and state economy.
The California Department of Public Health is currently in the process of developing a COVID-19 Vaccination Plan that will define which essential workers are prioritized in the vaccine distribution plan. The Resolution urges that the State Legislature, the Governor, the California Department of Public Health, and the Public Health Officers of Alameda County and the City of Berkeley include all certificated and classified school personnel as a top priority following healthcare workers and long-term care residents, for access to a COVID-19 vaccine. It also calls on the California School Boards Association to publicly advocate for public school educators to be prioritized in the first tier of essential workers who are given access to an approved COVID-19 vaccine.