Seminole County schools and schools throughout the state of Georgia began or will begin this week administering doses of COVID-19 vaccine to teachers and staff with schools using a mix of on-campus administration, large-scale distribution events and help from health clinics.
The school rollout comes after Gov. Brian Kemp last week expanded who is eligible for the vaccine to teachers, school staff, adults with behavioral and developmental disabilities and the parents of children with complex medical conditions. As of Monday, March 8, residents in those groups may now receive the vaccine..
An 83,000-dose shipment of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, as well as remaining supplies of the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, have been distributed to schools statewide, according to state officials.
Seminole County School Superintendent Mark Earnest said teachers and staff in the Seminole County school system will receive the Johnson & Johnson one dose COVID-19 vaccine this Thursday and Friday, March 11 and 12. Seminole County Elementary School teachers and staff will get their shots on Thursday, March 11 after school. The teachers and staff members at the Seminole County Middle/High School will receive their vaccinations on Friday morning, March 12. Friday is a teacher work day for the school system.
Staff members from the Seminole County Health Department will be in charge of administering the vaccine.
Superintendent Earnest commented, “The school district appreciates Penny Horne, county nurse, and her staff at the Seminole County Health Department for providing this service for our teachers and staff.”
Seminole County, as with many school districts in the area, chose to schedule inoculations for teachers and staff who want the vaccine as late as possible in the school week to give them some recovery time in the event of possible mild side effects such as temporary flu-like symptoms and pain where the shot was given.
State officials allowed local school administrators to decide their own logistics for administering vaccines rather than imposing state rules, marking an approach that several local superintendents praised at a meeting last Thursday to outline plans for providing shots and boosting confidence among hesitant teachers.
State School Superintendent Richard Woods said vaccinating teachers and staff is critical to returning all Georgia K-12 students to in-person classes. Currently, around 30% of students are still receiving online-only instruction, he said.
“We’re looking at how we can make a significant dent in the last third of the school year,” Woods said. “We still have work to do but it’s a big opportunity for us as a state to look forward and be prepared.”
“It’s a good day for us as a state.”