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Elementary students now eligible for vaccinations-podcast

by Mick Rhodes | mickrhodes@claremont-courier.com
The big news this week for Claremont Unified School District is its elementary school students are now eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19, a move officials anticipate will help to keep more kids healthy and in school.

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“Always our hope is for the highest vaccination rates possible,” said Claremont Unified School District Assistant Superintendent, Human Services, Kevin Ward. “I think, as you and I have been discussing numbers over the past couple of weeks and you look at exposures at the secondary level and how many students have to quarantine versus how many students are vaccinated and can continue to come to school, that is our goal: to have them here, to have them in school and to continue with the quote-unquote ‘regular’ school experience, regular program, as much as we can.”

On November 2, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended kids between 5 and 11 years old be inoculated against COVID with the Pfizer vaccine, and CUSD promptly began facilitating the implementation of this new edict for its youngest charges.

The district partnered with Hendricks Pharmacy for a series of afterschool pediatric vaccination clinics at its elementary school sites. Clinics took place this week at Mountain View, Chaparral, Oakmont and Sumner Danbury.

Next week CUSD will offer three more clinics: Monday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Vista del Valle; Tuesday from 3 to 5 p.m. at Condit; and Wednesday from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at Sycamore. Each clinic has between 60 and 200 shots available. To make an appointment, go to https://claremont-ca.schoolloop.com/covid and click on your preferred location. Kids do need to be a student at the school where the clinics are held in order to receive the vaccine.

Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center has also again partnered with CUSD. It offered free pediatric vaccines to CUSD kids on Thursday, and will do so again tomorrow, Saturday, November 13 from 8 a.m. to noon at the community room on the second floor at Pomona Valley Health Center, 1601 Monte Vista Ave. To make an appointment for tomorrow’s clinic, go to https://myturn.ca.gov.

The reaction from families who received the shots this week was encouraging, with all of the available doses put into the arms of Claremont’s youngest schoolchildren. Ward was at Chaparral’s clinic on Tuesday.

“It was fantastic,” he said. “It ran very smooth, and had a lot of staff there to help. The Hendricks staff was fantastic. So it flowed really well yesterday, and I heard the same thing about the other school sites. So lots of really positive comments from parents. I think lots of kids were surprised that it wasn’t as bad as they thought it was going to be. Nobody likes to go get a shot, but the Hendricks staff was just fantastic working with kids. And the needle is very small, the dose is very small. They were like, ‘Oh! That’s it?’ And the Hendricks staff brought little goody-bags, we had treats and stuff, candy. So, it went really well. I think it was a good experience.”

The hope is to offer still more elementary-aged students the opportunity to be vaccinated when the initial recipients are ready for their second dose, in about three weeks.

“And then we’ll look at, if we need more clinics going forward, obviously we’ll do the second shot,” Ward said. “So we’ll do all these clinics at our school sites, and then the appropriate time afterward have all the second shot clinics at the school sites probably at the same times, and Pomona Valley will do the same thing, and folks will be able to get that taken care of fairly easily. Our goal, similar to what we did with the staff and with the secondary students, was to make it easy for people to obtain. I mean, what’s easier than coming to your school site?”

Pomona Valley vaccinated more than 800 CUSD staff and in excess of 600 Claremont High School students at clinics held earlier this year.

Meanwhile, infections districtwide were up slightly this week: Chaparral Elementary held steady at four on the year; Condit held at 19; Mountain View’s year-to-date total remained at eight; Oakmont held at seven; Sumner Danbury added one, boosting its tally to 15; Sycamore held at just one case; and Vista del Valle remained at nine cases. El Roble Intermediate added one case, bringing its total to eight; Claremont High added seven, for 68 on the year; and San Antonio High is still the district’s only COVID-free campus.

Overall the district had 79 students quarantined this week, up from last week’s total of 48. Three weeks ago that number was 162.

Claremont High school saw 26 unvaccinated students in quarantine, with 71 others who were exposed allowed to stay in school because they were vaccinated and showed no symptoms.

El Roble Intermediate had five unvaccinated students quarantined, with seven exposed but vaccinated kids spared from isolation.

At the elementary level, Condit had six students quarantined, Mountain View 22, and Sycamore saw 20 of its kids in quarantine.

There were no staff members quarantined this week.

Please note that new cases can increase and quarantine numbers can fluctuate up and down throughout the week. The district’s COVID dashboard, at https://claremont-ca.schoolloop.com/covid, is updated as new information comes in. Please check there for the latest figures.

Again, for the latest CUSD COVID case numbers and information, go to https://claremont-ca.schoolloop.com/covid.

The district continues to offer multiple free testing clinics on Mondays from 2 to 4 p.m. at El Roble, and 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. at Sycamore; Tuesdays from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. at Vista del Valle;
Wednesdays from 1 to 2 p.m. at Condit; and Thursdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at Taylor Hall.

Anyone over the age of 5 can make an appointment to receive a free dose of the safe, readily available, FDA and CDC approved COVID vaccines at https://myturn.ca.gov.

 

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