South Whittier School District held a Coffee with the Superintendent event on Thursday, October 21, at the district office and via Zoom, to share with families important information and resources regarding COVID-19.
The event began with coffee and refreshments for attendees and a welcome from Superintendent, Dr. Gonzales. He then introduced the event’s guest speaker Pediatrician, Dr. Nava Yeganeh, from LA County Department of Public Health. Dr. Gonzales shared that the purpose of her presentation was to provide information and share what data is currently being looked at by the Department of Public Health.
Dr. Yeganeh joined the event via Zoom. She began her presentation by sharing recent data regarding COVID-19 and youth. She shared that approximately one-fourth of cases are now in youth and that in August hospitalizations in adolescents increased four times in states with low vaccination rates compared to states with high vaccinations rates due to the spread of the Delta variant.
Attendees were able to view charts that showed cases of vaccinated and unvaccinated, as well as hospitalization rates. Since the spread of the Delta variant, vaccinated adolescents between 12 and 17 years old are 33 times less likely to be hospitalized than adolescents who are unvaccinated.
After sharing all the data, Dr. Yeganeh talked about common myths regarding the vaccine and shared some key facts. She then went over risks and the safety surrounding the vaccine, particularly as it pertains to children.
Dr. Yeganeh then closed her presentation by taking questions from attendees.
After the presentation Dr. Gonzales spoke about the preventative measures and resources that the district has available for families. The district has been taking temperature checks of students and staff every morning, hosting free vaccine clinics for students and their families, and hosting free COVID-19 testing. Free testing takes place every Tuesday and Wednesday from 3:00 to 5:00 pm at Monte Vista and is available to students, staff, their families, and the community whether they have symptoms or not. All who participate in testing will receive their results in 24 hours.
South Whittier School District currently has the highest rate of vaccinated school age children in the Whittier area with 76.9% of eligible students vaccinated. South Whittier’s staff also has a high vaccine rate of 88%.
There is no vaccine mandate at South Whittier, however, the district wants to provide resources and opportunities for vaccines for those who would like to utilize them. As some attendees voiced concerns over vaccine mandates, the Superintendent shared, “There is currently no mandate at South Whittier, but South Whittier will abide by what the state requires. So if there is a mandate it will come from a higher source, not from the district.”
Dr. Gonzales went on to share that the district follows the guidelines of LA Department of Public Health and that their goal is to make sure students stay in school with in-person learning.
“The most important thing is that they [students] get to come to school, interact with their peers, grow up the way they should, and keep learning. Students are happy to be back in school and that’s what we want. Happy, smart children.”
To view Dr. Yeganeh's full presentation, please view "Teacher Presentation".