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Mayor Karen Goh signs letter urging state to prioritize COVID-19 vaccinations for TK through 2nd grade educators

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Mayor Karen Goh speaks during an Oct. 20 news conference at the Brundage Lane Navigation Center.

Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh joined 10 other California mayors in urging California leaders to prioritize vaccinations for those who educate students in TK through 2nd grades.

"As mayors representing some of the largest cities in the State, we are reaching out to you with a constructive suggestion regarding our shared imperative of returning as many children to school as possible," read the letter addressed to Gov. Gavin Newsom, Senate Pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Speaker Anthony Rendon.

The mayors wrote that they are not urging educators and school employees be prioritized ahead of frontline or essential workers. Instead, they are proposing a phased-in strategy for vaccination at schools, while doses are limited. They say it dovetails with Newsom's proposal to bring in the youngest students first before phasing in grade levels. 

"As mayors, we are hearing directly from our residents about young children left at home because their parents must leave the house to work, about students with special needs who depend on services provided by our schools, and also about working parents struggling to provide for their families and supervise their children," wrote mayors from Fresno, Stockton, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Anaheim and Santa Ana as well as Bakersfield.

The letter came out of conversations in the group Big City Mayors (BCM), a coalition of 13 mayors in California, according to Goh. Because of the pandemic, much of the mayors' focus has been on safely reopening schools and the economy, she wrote in an email to The Californian.

"The allocation of vaccines that Bakersfield and Kern County is receiving falls far short of our need," Goh said. "I’m joining other BCM mayors to actively advocate for more vaccines for our cities."