Teachers and other educational staff members, including childcare workers, have begun receiving COVID-19 vaccines, according to a press release from the Tennessee Department of Education.
Teachers in both Wilson County Schools and the Lebanon Special School District returned to school for in-school, traditional learning this month.
Throughout the pandemic, some teachers have taught remotely, while others are teaching in school, but say they are concerned about catching the virus.
Wilson County Schools
WCS Director Dr. Donna Wright said that the district’s employees “have been ready and waiting for quite some time. The majority of our educators have been ready for the vaccine since early December when we surveyed all employees in preparation for taking the vaccine.”
That survey found that approximately 1,500 educators and school employees (of the approximately 2,400 in the district) asked to be vaccinated.
Wright said, “I believe the number of educators/school employees will have increased since the initial vaccine interest survey was given. If anything, the importance for teachers to get the vaccine, is for their well-being in the midst of a pandemic.
“The district has continued to portray teachers as essential and pushed to move students back to a traditional classroom setting, but we were not seeing the effort among decision makers to ensure educators had access to the vaccine. The vaccine is important because we value our educators, and we need to make every effort to keep them safe and well. Access to the vaccine is critical that mission.”
In order to allow the educators to be vaccinated, the district is making three days “Asynchronous/Vaccination Days.” The first is Friday, March 5, which is the day before Spring Break.
The second days is Friday, March 26 and the third is Monday, May 3. Students will not report to school on those three days. Virtual learning students will “participate in asynchronous activities on the three days.
Lebanon Special School District
LSSD Director Scott Benson said that the district has “been working with our health department to get this scheduled. Obviously, we are thrilled our time has finally come.”
He said that teachers are “anxiously awaiting and excited about the opportunity to be vaccinated. It’s extremely important (that they get vaccinated). We want to keep everyone safe and we can’t have school without well and non-quarantined teachers and staff.”
He said that about 50 to 60 percent of LSSD employees have indicated that they will get the vaccine.
Traci Pope, VWCH Director of Community Relations, said that, “following Tennessee Department of Health and Wilson County Health Department guidelines, Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital began assisting (the local health department) in their efforts to vaccinate eligible individuals for COVID-19.”
Pope said that hospital personnel are screening, registering and vaccinating individuals through the main entrance of the hospital.
Eligible individuals should call the Wilson County Health Department to schedule an appointment, at (866) 442-5301 or by registering online.