Schools setting vaccine plans for teachers

By Mike Genet

Area school districts continue to finalize plans to get teachers vaccinated.

The Independence School District will give COVID-19 vaccine shots to teachers on March 19, as Missouri Gov. Mike Parson recently announced that the state will move into the next tier of its vaccination plan, which includes teachers and other essential workers, on March 15.  The district has arranged with Truman Medical Centers to give first vaccine doses at one school location. 

March 19 had been rescheduled as a make-up day for a winter weather cancelation, but the district says that will now be April 5, and the professional development day scheduled for that date will be shifted to another April date, depending on which vaccine is administered March 19.

Lori Halsey, the district’s director of health services, said the district has been working with TMC for months to have plans in place. Since the school nurses fell into a previous tier in the state’s vaccination rollout and have received their shots, they will be able to assist with giving the shots. Vaccines are not mandatory for the staff.

“We wanted to have everything in place, ready to go,” Halsey said.

The district scheduled a Friday for the vaccine shots, as well as the follow-up shots, in case of any side effects.

“We want the staff, if by any chance they have side effects, to not have to use a sick day,” Halsey said.

The clinic at Blue Springs’ Consiglio Wellness Center is an approved vaccination site, but the school district does not yet have vaccines there, district spokesperson Katie Woolf said.

“We are also working with possible partners to provide days/times for our staff to get the vaccine if they choose to do so,” Woolf said. “Nothing is finalized at this point. We continue to do all we can to make vaccines available to staff.”

The Fort Osage and Grain Valley districts also are working with TMC.

Grain Valley said its first round of shots will be March 29, with the second round at some point in April.

“We are finalizing logistical plans for the day,” Deputy Superintendent Brad Welle said.

As of Monday, Fort Osage had not settled on a date but planned to have the clinic for first shots in March.

“We will have subs cover classes while staff take time to get the vaccine, but again no finalized plans for that just yet,” district spokesperson Stephanie Smith said.

The Lee’s Summit School District has scheduled three vaccine days for district staff, working with the Jackson County Health Department March 20 and TMC on March 23 and 25 at single sites each day.

All vaccine clinics for school staff are not open to appointments from the general public.