The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

    SSU last group to receive vaccine in Sonoma County

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    California is slowly starting to provide residents with the COVID-19 vaccine and many individuals have noticed the vaccine rollout is slower and more unpredictable than anticipated. Sonoma State staff will have to continue their wait for vaccinations, as they are going to be last in line among all Sonoma County education employees to receive their shots. 

    The Sonoma County Department of Public Health is giving college and university employees under the age of 65 with no current face-to-face interactions final priority for the COVID-19 vaccination. 

    Press Democrat columnist Kerry Benefield, stated that “… after staffers who work with the county’s youngest students, SCOE has scheduled staffers at Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State in the final group.” 

    Despite being in the last group of education employees being vaccinated, many Sonoma State University staff remain hopeful that they will eventually receive the vaccination. Sonoma State Communications professor Gina Baleria hopes to receive the vaccination, but understands that she may have to wait in order to receive it.

    Sonoma State professor Gina Baleria said “Though I cannot wait to get the vaccine and get back into the classroom with all of my amazing students, I cannot place myself or my position above healthcare workers, first responders, essential workers, those who are older than me and thus more vulnerable and even K-12 teachers. I accept that I may need to wait a bit to receive the vaccine.”

    The California State University System remains hopeful that there will be some on-campus opportunities for activities and classes for the Fall 2021 semester. 

    California State University chancellor Timothy White said in an email, “In keeping with previous efforts to provide current and prospective students and families with information, clarity and time to plan, the California State University (CSU) has announced that it is planning for an anticipated return to delivering courses primarily in-person starting with the fall 2021 term.”

    Sonoma State’s Administrative Vice President for Strategic Communication, Julia Gonzalez said that similar to other universities, Sonoma State “anticipates more on-campus activity for the Fall 2021 semester and expects that COVID-19 safety protocols will continue to be in place.”

    Although there remains some hope at the moment for more on-campus interactions in the fall, “staff have proven that many jobs can be done remotely at the same standard of quality, so there is no reason to risk people’s health and safety unnecessarily,” said Sonoma State staff member AIdan Humrich. 

    Despite concerns about the COVID-19 vaccination, many Sonoma State University staff members remain optimistic that there is light at the end of the tunnel for some on-campus activities and classes in the Fall 2021 semester despite the current conditions The United States is facing.

    “If progress towards vaccine distribution continues to improve, this commitment will continue if the California State University and State deem it is safe to allow more on-campus activity in Fall 2021” Gonzalez stated. 

    Some Sonoma State University staff members are hesitant to return to campus in Fall 2021 if they are not vaccinated. 

    “I do not have any intention of returning to the classroom if I am not fully vaccinated in Fall 2021,” Sonoma State Women’s and Gender Studies professor Charlene Tung said. 

    Other SSU staff said they would also not return unless students are as well among the population being vaccinated. 

    “I do not feel comfortable returning to campus without having the vaccine first, and I would want to know that all staff, faculty, and students have the vaccine before freely moving amongst them,” said Humrich. 

    According to a statement from The Sonoma County Office of Education, in regards to the vaccine distribution plan, “California has identified school staff as a priority for vaccination under Phase 1b, Tier 1 following the completion of Phase 1a.”

    Tier 1, Phase 1a includes healthcare personnel at high risk of exposure. Tier 1, Phase 1b includes those over the age of 65, those in the education and childcare sector, those in the emergency services sector, and those in the food and agriculture sector.

    “Getting employees in the education sector vaccinated is a priority across the state,” reiterated Gonzalez. 

    With vaccinating those in the education sector being a priority of those in California, The Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) could start vaccinating its school employees starting as soon as February. 

    The State of California has outlined a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan which Sonoma County Public Health plans to closely follow. This aligns with Governor Newsom’s school reopening recommendations and priorities.

    Benefield also stated in his Press Democrat article that that once those in the “… 65 and older population are inoculated, the second group includes preschool and day care staff, elementary school employees and secondary employees who meet face-to-face with students.”

    The SCOE is preparing to vaccinate nearly 16,500 total school employees of all grade levels. Approximately 1,100 of those school employees are those in the 65 and older population. 

    Sonoma State University students and employees can stay informed on the latest vaccine information by visiting: 

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