LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner said he has asked state and county health officials to allow the district to provide COVID-19 vaccinations at schools to expedite administration of the shots and speed a return to in-person classes.

“There’s a unique and important benefit to having Los Angeles Unified as a vaccination partner — doing so will help reopen schools as soon as possible, and in the safest way possible,” Beutner wrote in a letter to health officials.

“This will not only protect the health and safety of our essential employees but will provide enormous benefit to children and their families, leading to a faster reopening of schools and of the economy more broadly by enabling the working families we serve to go back to work.”

Beutner has said previously that schools would be ideal sites to serve as vaccination hubs, noting that campuses are already strategically located across most of the county. He pointed to the district’s success during the pandemic of distributing food to families, providing more than 96 million meals.

He also said schools also already have key infrastructure in place, such as security, and the district has multiple school-based health clinics already licensed to provide vaccines. The district employs more than 450 registered nurses and 120 licensed vocational nurses, he said.

“Few organizations in the Los Angeles area have this deep and proven set of capabilities and few are as trusted by the community,” Beutner said.

“Families trust schools to keep their children safe and that trust extends to the entire family. A trusted partner providing the vaccination at a trusted location will increase the chances of a successful and more speedy vaccination effort.”

Los Angeles County has already established about 75 vaccination sites across the region, and planned to open five large-scale vaccine clinics on Tuesday, Jan. 18. Those were in addition to the vaccination site that opened Jan. 15 at Dodger Stadium.

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