Saturday, September 18, 2021

Vaccinations and the Return to In-Person School

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In a May 24 email, the Coronado Unified School District (CUSD) notified parents that CUSD is, “committed to having a return to pre-pandemic, in-person experiences available (five days/week) for all students this fall.” A key concern in returning to full in-person classes is the vaccination level of students, teachers, and staff.

CUSD partnered with the City of Coronado and Sharp Coronado Hospital to offer the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to all CUSD employees. Photo from the Sharp Coronado website.

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California educators became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on March 1, 2021. CUSD partnered with the City of Coronado and Sharp Coronado Hospital to offer over 500 employees (including substitutes and coaches) access to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Over 300 CUSD staff were vaccinated through this program.

CHS teacher and Coronado City Council member Casey Tanaka shared, “CUSD made it very easy for me to get vaccinated. They took the lead on coordinating with the City of Coronado and Sharp Coronado to set up appointment times . . . I was grateful to have easy access to vaccination appointment times.”

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CUSD staff over age 65 were eligible for vaccinations starting in January 2021, so some employees were vaccinated prior to the CUSD sponsored program.  

83% of CHS teachers have returned to in-person learning.

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Two weeks after receiving the second dose (the point in time when one is considered fully vaccinated), some CUSD teachers returned to in-person classes. At Coronado High School, 83% of teachers returned to in-person teaching in their classrooms. CHS student Caroline Welsh shared, “I am so happy that Ms. Tippets is on campus. Seeing her in-person everyday truly enriches my chemistry experience and helps me academically!”

CUSD is not requiring teachers and staff to be vaccinated to return to work.

As of April 15, 2021, California residents aged 16 and over became eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. This age group represents the majority of high school students. An optional anonymous survey was put out through the CHS ASB Instagram on May 15th and received 172 responses, which represents just 17% of CHS students. Of the students that responded in the 16 and older age group (135), 83% said they had received at least their first dose of the COVID vaccine. An additional 4% of the responding students 16 and older who had not yet received a vaccine dose indicated they planned to get the vaccine before the fall 2021 start of school. 

Starting May 13, 2021, the Pfizer vaccine was made available to those ages 12 to 15. This age group includes most high school freshmen and some sophomores. The same informal CHS ASB survey showed that of the students under age 16 that responded (38), 53% had received at least their first vaccine and another 34% said they planned to get it.

Overall, of the small sampling of student respondents to the ASB Instagram survey, 87% are either vaccinated now or plan to be vaccinated before the start of the next school year. 


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Chloe Berk
Chloe has called Coronado home since she could walk or talk and considers herself a true Islander. She is currently a student at Coronado High School and a writer for the Islander Times. After studying and writing articles, she enjoys volleyball, the beach, and her newly-adopted dogs from PAWS.
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