As someone who grew up in the American South during segregation, LAUSD school board member George McKenna knows why it’s so hard to get the students and teachers of South LA vaccinated.
“The challenge is a cultural thing as well as an experiential thing,” he says. “The Black community did not have access to medical services from regular hospitals, so we relied on home remedies. And then we discovered that medical practitioners sometimes experimented on us.”
He says a lot of his colleagues still don't feel that vaccination is for them. But their tune will need to change by October 15, the date LAUSD says all faculty and staff must be fully vaccinated.
“As much as I love my community, that means I have to stimulate them, motivate them, agitate them, even aggravate them to the point that they want to be vaccinated.”
Unvaccinated students will be tested regularly on campus, and those who wish to stay at home can attend school virtually through an independent study program.
“You can still log on, but it's much better for students to socialize with their colleagues, to be on campus,” says McKenna.