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Some school districts paying teachers and staff to get vaccinated

Iowa school teacher receiving a COVID-19 vaccine earlier this year.
Phil Roeder
Flickr / Creative Commons
Iowa school teacher receiving a COVID-19 vaccine earlier this year.

The incentives being offered by some California school districts to staff and, in some cases, students, to get vaccinated are aimed at heading off a potential resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

EdSource reports that the Enterprise Elementary School District in Shasta County is one of the latest to offer vaccine incentives to school staff. In August, district officials agreed to pay $500 to each employee who was fully vaccinated against Covid by Oct. 4 - 11 days before a state deadline for school staff to be vaccinated or begin weekly testing.

The district, which had 40 percent of its staff vaccinated at the beginning of the school year, now has 62 percent vaccinated -- including 70 percent of its teachers. All vaccinated employees received the benefit, even those vaccinated before the incentive program began. KRCR News reports that the move toward a vaccine mandate is being opposed by some parents.

The Shasta County School superintendent told EdSource that the goal of the cash payments to teachers is for the schools to remain open for in-person instruction.

Shasta County is only one of a handful of districtsin the state to offer cash incentives to staff who vaccinate. As of Wednesday, just more than half of county residents 12 and older were fully vaccinated. The state vaccination rate for that age group is about 80 percent.

Some school districts, community colleges and universities also have offered students incentives to get the Covid-19 vaccination. San Francisco State University, for example, held a drawing for vaccinated San Francisco Unified students. The prize: a full scholarship to the university.

Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new vaccine mandate for all public and private school students and employees. The deadline has been set for July.