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Schools get shots for teachers as county focuses on seniors

Staff writers

Marion County’s health department is giving seniors older than 65 first place in line for COVID-19 vaccines, but some area school districts want their employees vaccinated sooner.

Smaller districts such as Peabody-Burns and Goessel are working with the county health department to get shots for their staffers, county health department administrator Diedre Serene said.

However, Marion and Hillsboro are not willing to wait.

The county’s two largest school districts are seeking shots for their staffers from pharmacies.

Hillsboro district’s school board voted Monday have its middle and high school students return to face-to-face classrooms after spring break.

Superintendent Max Heinrichs said there was a key reason for the board’s decision to leave its hybrid school model.

“All teachers will be vaccinated by the middle of the week during spring break,” he said.

Most staffers will be vaccinated as well, he said. Heinrich’s estimates 113 of 145 employees will be vaccinated — a rate of nearly 80%. The district employs about 40 teachers.

“We are feeling pretty good about being back in the building,” he said.

Getting district staff vaccinated took plenty of phone calls. The vaccines were supplied through Hillsboro Hometown Pharmacy. The teachers got their shots at Hesston Pharmacy.

The district’s teachers were allowed to take Feb. 26 off to get vaccinated with the Pfizer shot, which has a three-week turnaround. They will get a second shot during spring break.

Marion’s school district is working with a pharmacy in Herington.

Serene said the vaccines offered at pharmacies are part of a federal program operated by the Centers for Disease Control.

The pharmacies were selected by CDC and come through a different supply stream, she said.

The county has given vaccinations to 1,469 people, many of whom have gotten their second dose.

A week ago, 400 people got booster shots at a clinic at the fairgrounds. Last Thursday, 400 more people got their first vaccinations.

Booster shots are being given to 400 people at today’s clinic. First vaccinations still can be scheduled for Thursday.

“Anybody over 65 who has not had their shot and wants it, please call the health department and we’ll get them in Thursday,” Serene said.

Five new cases of COVID-19 were reported by the county health department in this past week.

The cases bring the county’s total to 1,011, although the Kansas Department of Health and Environment lists 1,032 cases for the county.

Serene said nine people are in isolation as of Tuesday.

The health department reports 24 county residents have died from the virus since the pandemic began.

Last modified March 11, 2021

 

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