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All School Staff in Fresno County Could Be Vaccinated by End of March, Officials Say

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The race to vaccinate school teachers and staff in Fresno County appears to be shifting into high gear.

In a meeting Wednesday with area school district superintendents, county health department officials said that 8,000 COVID vaccine doses will be available weekly for school workers starting Monday, according to Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Jim Yovino.

That’s on top of the 10% of the county’s weekly allotment, or another 2,000 or so doses, already designated for school employees, Yovino said.

The boost would be enough to provide vaccinations to all school employees who want them — teachers, bus drivers, librarians, food service workers, and administrators — by the end of March, he said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom last week said that counties should allocate 10% of their vaccine allotments to school and child care workers starting in March.

Fresno County public health officials could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Infection Rates Keep Dropping

The number of vaccinated school employees won’t necessarily hasten the reopening of schools in some districts. Fresno Unified, for example, has said it won’t make it mandatory for teachers to return to school until the county is in the orange tier of the state’s reopening plan, signifying a moderate risk of infection.

Fresno County has been in the purple tier, with widespread infection risk, since last fall. The orange tier is two steps below purple.

But Yovino noted that the county’s infection and case rates have continued to decline, bringing Fresno County closer to the red tier (one level below purple) that will bring more of other districts’ students back into classrooms.

Central Unified’s reopening plan is for hybrid instruction for elementary students once the county reaches the red tier and hybrid instruction for secondary students in the orange tier.

In hybrid instruction, students attend school on certain days and have distance learning on other days. The goal is to limit in-person class sizes so students can remain distanced.

According to a dashboard on the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools website, the number of students who are back in school full-time, on hybrid instruction, or on distance learning varies widely across the county’s school districts.

The dashboard is derived from data reported by school districts to the Office of the Superintendent of Schools on the second and fourth Mondays of each month and is updated twice monthly.

Dashboard Results for Area Districts

The dashboard reported the following on Wednesday:

  • Fresno Unified: 0% full-time in-person, 0.4% hybrid, 99.6% distance.
  • Clovis Unified: 1.6% full-time in-person, 26.6% hybrid, 71.8% distance.
  • Central Unified: 0% full-time in-person, 0% hybrid, 100% distance.
  • Sanger Unified: 0% full-time in-person, 45.6% hybrid, 54.5% distance.
  • Kings Canyon Unified: 14.5% full-time in-person, 41.6% hybrid, 43.8% distance.
  • Sierra Unified: 81.5% full-time in-person, 0% hybrid, 18.5% distance.

The dashboard also reports on a school-by-school basis the number of students who are being taught in person, hybrid, or distance learning, and the number of staffers working in-person at each school.

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email