Keck Medicine of USC is following protocols developed by the CDC and the state and county departments of public health to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine equitably and responsibly. On March 1, the vaccine clinic opened up to people ages 16 to 64 who work in health care, education and childcare, emergency services or food and agriculture.

Arlin Sosa, 36, a kindergarten teacher with Extera Public Schools, the opportunity to get vaccinated meant being one step closer to having students in her classroom again. The Boyle Heights resident has not seen her students in person in a year.

“It’s really hard, especially for the little ones. They really need that hands-on and that in-person teaching. We have been able to establish that classroom feeling but it’s hard for them to be friends and have that interaction over a screen. For most of them it’s their first year in school ever, so they don’t get to have the full experience of kindergarten, which is really sad.”

Keck Medicine has continued to prioritize equity in distribution, partnering with local charter schools like Extera Public Schools, a group of tuition-free K-8 charter schools serving children in Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles, and Green Dot Public Schools California, a network of 19 Title I middle and high schools purposefully located in communities that have been historically underserved in South and East Los Angeles.

“Ensuring equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine is our number one priority at USC. We are delighted to support these organizations,” said Felipe Osorno, executive administrator of continuum of care operations and value improvement at Keck Medicine.

Corri Tate Ravare, chief operating officer of Extera Public Schools, was happy to see so many of her colleagues at Norris Healthcare Center getting their first dose of the vaccine.

“My staff was thrilled to know they’re going to be protected and the community recognizes their role to be able to get back in school. They’ve been working hard at home, they’ve turned their homes into classrooms and now they’re very soon able to get back in their classrooms with their students.”

COVID-19 vaccine eligibility opens to educators