USA: COVID-19 vaccinations underway for teachers, staff at Cedar Valley schools

USA/ 13 February 2021/ Source/

By Andrew Wind

WATERLOO — Staff at schools throughout the Cedar Valley started getting vaccinated during the past week.

Nine of 10 school districts that responded to questions from The Courier Friday said that they had begun COVID-19 vaccinations for some portion of their employees. Union Community Schools in La Porte City started with its first staff members a little earlier, on Feb. 1, and Dunkerton Community School will be starting Thursday.

Waterloo Community Schools began with staff who are 65 and older. That included “approximately 85 people,” said Kingsley Botchway, the district’s human resources director.

“About 92.7% of our staff have said yes to vaccination,” he noted, or 1,553 people. Large-scale vaccinations begin in the next week.

“That’s where we hope a quarter of our staff get vaccinated each week,” said Botchway. Depending on the brand of vaccine, they will wait three or four weeks for a second dose. “We’re hoping by the end of eight weeks we will have everybody vaccinated with both doses.”  
Cedar Falls Community Schools started with a similar approach.

“We’ve only been able to do (staff) over 65 and those with serious health conditions this week,” said Janelle Darst, a district spokeswoman. “We hope to be able to announce soon more for next week.”

Both districts are working with the Black Hawk County health department. The agency and its health system partners on Friday announced vaccinations were getting underway “and if vaccine allocations hold at projected levels, should be complete by mid-March,” according to a statement release by the health department.

“Though recent vaccine allocations have increased, and will continue to do so, it is important to note that vaccine allocations remain limited at this time,” the statement said.

“We ask that those awaiting vaccine availability please remain patient and continue to follow enhanced COVID-19 safety measures, including mask wearing, proper social distancing and good hygiene practices such as hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer. If you experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19, please stay home and contact your primary care provider.”

Ed Klamfoth, superintendent of Waverly-Shell Rock Community Schools, said staff surveys show the district will be giving “at least 330” vaccinations, which amounts to roughly 80% of district employees.

“We started this week with 85 staff members receiving vaccinations. Those people will get their second dose in four weeks,” he said. The district was still waiting to hear from health department officials in Bremer County about when the next round of doses would be given.

Like some others, Hudson Community Schools began with older employees. “We have vaccinated staff age 65 and older, accounting for seven employees,” he said. Further vaccinations will be done in two waves.

Total Hudson Schools employees come to 136 people, including non-teacher coaches. More than 71% of them want a vaccine, so each wave will have roughly 50 people.

“We have about 75% of teachers indicating a desire to be vaccinated, 75% of administrators, 85% of administrative assistants, 52% of paraprofessionals, and 100% of regular route bus drivers,” said Voss.

In Dunkerton, Superintendent Tim Cronin said “about 65% of staff are opting to take the vaccine” through the county health department while another 5% received it elsewhere. Shots are being given in two groups.

After 30 staff get their first dose Thursday, they will return for a second one March 11. The second group of 35 get their first dose Feb. 25 and the second one March 17.

Union Schools, working through the Tama County health department, has had 63 staff members receive their first dose, include 35 during the past week. Superintendent Travis Fleshner said 83% of district employees expressed an interest in getting vaccinated. Those remaining will receive initial doses in the next two weeks, with vaccinations scheduled for 50 people during the coming week.

“All second doses will be completed in March through Tama County Public Health,” he said.

Janesville Consolidated School received 22 Moderna vaccines for staff Tuesday, which were administered in the nurse’s office.

Superintendent B.J. Meaney said “22 represented about 55% of the total requests. All of the staff over the age of 60 that requested it received it.” The district is still waiting to hear from the Bremer County health department when other first doses for staff will be available.

About 80% of Dike-New Hartford staff requested the vaccine, being provided by a pharmacy through the Grundy County health department. 

“We have approximately 140 staff getting the first dose this afternoon,” Superintendent Justin Stockdale said Friday. The second dose will be given March 12.

Denver Community Schools heard from 70.8% of its staff that they wanted the vaccine. On Tuesday, 21 people received their first dose. The district has received no information yet on when the second group will be vaccinated.

Jesup Community Schools had 117 staff and substitutes sign up to receive the vaccine. That is “about 63-65% of our total staff,” Superintendent Nathan Marting estimated. He noted that 95 staff members were to receive their first dose Friday afternoon at a clinic provided by the Buchanan County health department.

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USA: COVID-19 vaccinations underway for teachers, staff at Cedar Valley schools – Sarraute Educación María Magdalena

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