Dose of Clarity: Vaccine efforts for teachers in Gloucester County

Gloucester

GLOUCESTER COUNTY,Va. (WAVY) — A concerned Gloucester County Public Schools (GCPS) teacher wants to know why teachers there have not been vaccinated yet.

WAVY.com reports Gloucester County began offering in-person learning in September. 10 On Your Side’s Kiahnna Patterson spoke with GCPS Superintendent Dr. Walter Clemons.

Clemons said school leaders partnered with Riverside Health Systems and the Virginia Health Department’s Three Rivers Health District to vaccinate staff.

“The vaccination rollout is going to play a critical piece in staff members having a higher level of comfort. Not only from a safety perspective for themselves, just in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic itself from a personal standpoint, but also from providing in-person learning for students.”

Lisa Jones, GCPS director of nursing, explains school leaders set up appointments during a four-day period to provide 474 employees with the first dose.

This includes school employees, administrators and school board members. In total, 84% of teachers received the initial dose of the vaccine.

“We want to grow our herd immunity within the community as far as being vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Jones. “It plays a role in being able to be in-person and provide the education to all of our students.”

Clemons expects those staff members to be fully vaccinated by the end of the month. He believes vaccinations provide an extra layer of comfort for teachers.

“As we start to think about continuing our in-person learning or the potential expanding our in-person learning opportunities beyond the hybrid plan. It adds to a security level for staff if you are going to bring more students in-person.”

The GCPS COVID dashboard shows under 100 cases for students.  

“We’ve done an incredible job of keeping the spread and transmission from occurring within the schools,” Clemons said. “It takes the community letting us know also about when there are positive cases so we can keep it from coming in our schools and spreading in our schools. Right now, that has been a real success story. We really haven’t seen it in our schools.”

A school survey sent out to school staff earlier this month shows 112 additional staff members are interested in getting the vaccine.

Clemons said the school district is working to locate more shots to vaccinate the rest of the interested staff.

“We don’t have the next phase scheduled because we don’t have any communication from the health providers that there are additional or more vaccines eligible for GCPS.”

“We are still continuing to look for opportunities to vaccinate others that are interested,” Jones added.

10 On Your Side is working to give you a “Dose of Clarity” pertaining to the COVID-19 vaccine. We’re taking your questions and getting answers, which we’ll continue to share on WAVY News Today weekdays at 5:30 a.m. If you have a question, send it our way! Email reportit@wavy.com, tweet us, or send it to us on Facebook.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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