By Emily Scarvie
(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Friday, Nov. 5 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.
After the FDA, CDC and Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup’s emergency approvals of Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine, two of Oregon’s largest school districts say they’re already planning vaccination clinics for students ages 5 to 11, starting next week.
Portland Public Schools said they will be hosting clinics at eight schools in the district, partnering with Kaiser Permanente and Medical Teams International to administer the vaccinations.
The Beaverton School District has also said they will offer COVID-19 vaccinations on school grounds, working with Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center to offer free vaccinations to students. According to BSD, Virginia Garcia will also be distributing $50 grocery store gift cards to anyone, including children, receiving their first dose of a vaccine.
Following the approval of the vaccine, the Oregon Health Authority said there are around 330,000 children in the state who are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Dean Sidelinger said the state is not considering a vaccine mandate for students yet.
Starting at 6 a.m. on Nov. 15, nearly 3,400 Kaiser Permanente workers in Oregon and Southwest Washington will begin to strike “due to harmful proposals put forward by Kaiser leaders during union contract negotiations,” the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals said. The union’s announcement on Thursday gives Kaiser 10 days to improve negotiations or the strike will go on as scheduled.
The workers in Oregon and Washington include registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants and lab professionals. If the strike occurs as planned, they will be joining 32,000 other Kaiser workers in five states. Kaiser employees in Oregon voted to authorize a strike on Oct. 11, with around 96% saying they would support the move.
A survey of Portland Public Schools teachers found that many are already struggling or burnt out, less than three months into the school year.
“Educators have expressed they’re at a breaking point,” Jessica Thiel, president of the Portland Association of Teachers, told KGW.
Of the 2,800 teachers surveyed, more than 80% said their workload is so high they can’t get it done during the work day. In terms of stress, 70% said their stress levels are high or severe, and 28% said it’s impacting their health. The survey also found than over 1,000 teachers have considered a leave of absence or resignation, and around 400 have considered early retirement.
“If even a small fraction of those educators choose to leave the profession it will have drastic impacts on our schools,” Thiel said. “We can’t run school without educators… Something has to give because what we’re doing right now is not sustainable.”
Pioneer Square in downtown Portland is getting its Christmas tree on Friday, kicking off the holiday season in the city. According to officials, the 75 ft. tall Douglas-fir tree arrived Friday morning and is currently being set up in “Portland’s living room.”
The annual tree lighting will take place on Nov. 26 at 6 p.m. in Pioneer Square and will be televised on KGW.