As someone who grew up in the American South under segregation, LAUSD school council member George McKenna knows why it is so difficult to vaccinate South LA’s students and teachers.
“The challenge is both a cultural and an experiential one,” he says. “The black community did not have access to medical care from regular hospitals, so we relied on home remedies. And then we found that doctors sometimes experimented on us. “
He says many of his colleagues still don’t feel that vaccination is for them. But their tune has to change by October 15th, the date LAUSD says all faculty and staff must be fully vaccinated.
“As much as I love my community, it means that I have to stimulate, motivate, excite, even provoke them in such a way that they want to be vaccinated.”
Unvaccinated students are tested regularly on campus, and those who want to stay at home can go to school virtually through a separate study program.
“You can still sign up, but it’s much better for the students to meet up with their colleagues, to be on campus,” says McKenna.