Testing the Teachers (and All the Educators)csudhbulletin March 3, 2021 0 COMMENTS
Educators in California will need one more credential. Illustration by Darlene Maes.
By Daniel Diaz, Staff Reporter and Chaz Kawamura, Staff Reporter
The faculty, administration, and staff of California State University, Dominguez Hills are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. On Monday, educators joined people over the age of 65 in being some of the few Californians eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
After Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Feb. 19 announcement, CSUDH President Thomas Parham sent out a campus-wide email last Wednesday, notifying the campus community of the news and expressed his excitement for this new phase.
However, educators are not required to be vaccinated. But in his email, Parham encouraged all eligible CSUDH employees to take the test.
.Although CSUDH cannot mandate that university employees get the vaccine, I strongly encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity,” Parham said in the email.
The CSUDH Toros Together Information Hub, which provides information on campus policies and protocols for the CSUDH community, has also created a new vaccine information section. The website offers information on frequently asked questions about topics like eligibility and registrations.
Currently, according to an article by the Los Angeles Times, over 8 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in California, but the vaccination centers and appointments in Los Angeles County have been limited and heavily impacted in the last couple of weeks. According to an article by the Los Angeles Times, the previous vaccine rollout was a chaotic one, filled with packed lines and people unable to get the vaccine because of shortages.
But in the email, Parham encouraged those eligible not to be discouraged by this reality. “As the federal vaccine rollout continues to gather steam and as the availability of vaccines improves, the long waits for appointments are expected to be significantly reduced,” Parham said.
Ken O’Donnell, vice provost at CSUDH, said the actual process of getting those vaccinations to eligible educators is not in the university’s hands.
“It will be up to city, county, and state health agencies to tell us how the vaccine will be administered,” O’Donnell said.
But for those interested in pursuing vaccination, a site might be closer than expected. In an open forum held on Feb. 19 which was part of CSU Chancellor Joseph Castro’s virtual visit to CSUDH, Parham said he is hopeful the campus will be approved as a vaccination site.
On his visit, Castro clarified that the CSU system would not be able to require employees and students to receive a vaccine as a condition of maintaining employment enrollment.
According to Castro, the main reason behind this is because COVID-19 vaccines are not fully licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that the vaccine is available outside of a research study which is the usual first step for a new vaccine. The vaccine can and will continue to be used as long as people benefit from it under an “Emergency Use Authorization”.
Although the vaccine is not a requirement, Castro looks to “inspire” those eligible to get the vaccine for everyone’s safety.
“We are excited about the possibilities of perhaps us being designated as a vaccination site and that will be a sight that will not only serve this campus but it will also serve the region,” he said. “We want to be a resource that is not simply in this community but of this community.”
But even as CSUDH is being considered a vaccination center location, Parham does not advise educators to wait for news of a center at the university as there is no timetable for when this might occur.
Parham suggested that even after receiving the vaccine, everyone should still follow health guidelines.
“Wear a mask, continue social distancing, and avoid large gatherings to reduce incidents of exposure, minimize transmission, and ultimately lower COVID-19 case counts,” said Parham.
If approved, the campus will join the other 11 campuses in CSU who already have a vaccination center on campus which are currently assisting in the effort to get people over 65 or in a qualifying industry vaccinated.
To register for a vaccination appointment, educators can go to the California Department of Public Health’s My Turn website or contact the department at (833) 422-4255.