Planada Elementary School District administers 300 vaccines to ag workers

PLANADA, Calif. (KFSN) -- They're vital to putting food on our tables, so Planada Elementary School District (PESD) secured 300 vaccines for agricultural workers.

"To be able to offer this opportunity is extremely emotional and enriching as well," says district superintendent Jose Gonzalez.

Gonzalez says this comes after vaccinating all district staff who wanted their shot.

While the ag workers won't be on campus, this is still the community the district serves.

"We knew there were going to be challenges with underprivileged communities so we quickly activated our partnerships with United Way and other non profits in the community to assist in the communication component," says Gonzalez.

Alleviating any mistrust or anxiety that comes with the application process is all part of the district's plan to get students back in the classroom safely.

"We swab for a total of 30 seconds, within 15 minutes we have results. The student, parents or staff member will receive an email or text message within an hour," says Gonzalez.

Through the California endowment, PESD secured 10,000 antigen rapid test kits for three Merced county school districts.

Starting March 8th with parental consent, students will be tested twice per week.

So far only small cohorts, accounting for roughly a third of students, are back in the classrooms in Planada, including Brianna Castillo.

Soon she and her sister will add rapid tests to their weekly school routine.

"It makes me feel more comfortable, so I don't have to worry about getting sick," she says.

That peace of mind isn't just for herself - that layer of protection means her mom who's a teacher won't be exposed as well.

"It gives us a lot of pride a community such as Planada rural unincorporated, predominantly Latino, has access to 21st-century technology to do everything we can to get our young people back in the classrooms," says Gonzalez.

PESD is one of nine school districts statewide that are a part of this pilot program but we could see more pop up in the Valley.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.