Shawnee County to vaccinate K-12 teachers starting next week


FILE – In this Dec. 14, 2020 file photo The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 is seen at Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg, Idaho. State and federal court judges and staffers are getting access to some of Idaho’s limited doses of coronavirus vaccine even though they are not on the state’s vaccine priority list. Workers with the U.S. District Courts in Boise were offered vaccinations on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, as were some Ada County Courthouse employees. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, File)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Educators at Shawnee County schools will start getting the COVID-19 vaccine starting next week if they want it, according to the Shawnee County Health Department.

Here’s what the health department has said so far about vaccinating area teachers:

  • K-12 teachers, faculty, food staff, bus drivers and related education staff can get vaccinated starting next week if they want it.
  • The department hopes to have all staff who want it, vaccinated with their first shot by spring break.
  • Teachers and faculty have always been top priority in Phase 2, alongside groups like people over 65. They will be vaccinating these groups together.
  • SCHD will hold a press conference at 1:30 today to explain why are teachers being vaccinated.

Topeka Public Schools gave notice previously to parents about the push for teachers to get the vaccine, with the goal of all area educators having the first dose of the vaccine by spring break. The school district is watching for an opportunity to send students back to class for in-person learning. It previously said that would be more likely with the Shawnee County Health Department’s scorecard giving consecutive weeks without uncontrolled COVID-19 spread.

“We will reopen once we have two weeks of an orange rating, and we are hopeful that this will occur in the near future,” TPS Director of Instructional Services Aarion L. Gray said Jan. 11. “But based on the predictions, we are optimistic that we will be able to return after spring break in March. We hope many of our staff who want the vaccine will have their vaccines completed by that time.”

Stormont Vail Health is working with the Shawnee County Health Department to take part in vaccinating the teachers, according to spokesman Matt Lara.

“We also have volunteered to provide support for vaccination of teachers grades K through 12, who also are a part of the Phase 2 group. We are working through the logistics of this with the Shawnee County Health Department. We are capable of doing up to 2,500 vaccinations a day at the vaccine center we have set up at the Exhibition Hall at the Stormont Vail Events Center. Again, the number we provide is predicated on the amount of vaccine we are allocated and at this time, vaccine is in short supply. We ask for patience from the community as we work through this. Our goal is to get as many people vaccinated as possible and to not have any held back or wasted.”

Matt Lara, Stormont Vail Health

In addition, the University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus will be part of the coordinated effort to vaccinate educators and school staff, according to a hospital spokesperson.

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