Self-study

LAUSD uses prizes to persuade students to get COVID vaccine – Los Angeles Times

Summary

With a student vaccination deadline days away — and about 72% in compliance — the Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday authorized an estimated $5 million for prizes and treats as incentives, including gift cards to Amazon and Target, tickets to “Hamilton” and food trucks on campus.

The incentive program, already underway, is part of a broad-based effort to boost vaccination rates by Nov. 21, the school district’s self-imposed deadline for students 12 and older to receive …….

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With a student vaccination deadline days away — and about 72% in compliance — the Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday authorized an estimated $5 million for prizes and treats as incentives, including gift cards to Amazon and Target, tickets to “Hamilton” and food trucks on campus.

The incentive program, already underway, is part of a broad-based effort to boost vaccination rates by Nov. 21, the school district’s self-imposed deadline for students 12 and older to receive the first of two doses. Students must be fully vaccinated by the Jan. 10 start of the second semester, or they will not be allowed on campus. Their options would be to pursue their education outside of Los Angeles Unified or transfer to City of Angels, a district independent study program.

The incentives are mainly raffles, and anyone in compliance is eligible — meaning those who are vaccinated, have an approved medical exemption or have a rare authorized extension. Religious exemptions are not being granted.

Raffle prizes have also included gift cards to grocery stores; tickets to Disneyland, Magic Mountain and Universal Studios Hollywood, and graduation-night entertainment packages. Some of the money is being spent centrally, but regional administrators have funds to come up with their own plans. Some have brought in food trucks; Wilson High in El Sereno has logo T-shirts for every student who follows the rules.

“It’s really designed to acknowledge families for their efforts in engaging in this bigger public health initiative,” said Sara Mooney, the district’s coordinator of civic engagement. “It’s all about keeping families safe and students learning.”

The spending serves “a legitimate public and educational purpose,” according to the board report.

In approving financial incentives, the school board had to waive a rule that sets “a limit of $40 for personal gifts to students and parents/guardians.” A report to the board estimated that rewards would range from $100 to $350, on average. The $5 million is paid for with tax-payer funding. Additional gifts will be “sponsored and funded” by donors.

The incentives in the nation’s second-largest school system resemble an unrelated $116.5-million state program unveiled last May. In a series of drawings through June, vaccinated Californians were eligible to win prizes up to $1.5 million.

Other efforts by LAUSD include expanding access to vaccines and working in collaboration with community organizations.

By Jan. 10, “we’re expecting all of our students to have their two doses already and recorded and uploaded,” said Anthony Aguilar, the district’s chief of special education, equity and access in a briefing to the school board.

Senior district administrators did not say where things stand on student vaccination rates — in the meeting or in response to requests from The Times. But board member Jackie Goldberg provided an update based on an internal briefing.

The number of students who have had at least one dose or have otherwise complied is about 71.9%, she said, adding that “probably 64%” are fully vaccinated. The number could …….

Source: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-11-17/lausd-to-spend-5-million-for-gift-cards-to-incentivize-students-to-get-covid-19-vaccine