DAVIE COUNTY, N.C. — Hundreds of teachers and other employees with Davie County Schools received their first COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday. It was the first day of a district-wide vaccination exercise for employees and was designated a remote learning day.
The second day for the vaccination exercise is scheduled for Feb.19 which is also a remote learning day, DCSD officials said.
District officials said they would provide more information for parents regarding the remote learning day.
More than 300 hundred teachers and staff turned up for the vaccination exercise.
"We are so thankful for that. We say we're about education and we're about the kids, and our staff has stepped up and taken another step today, to do that and we're very proud of them. I'm very humbled by what's happened," said Jeff Wallace, Davie County Superintendent of Schools.
Wallace highlighted the contributions and flexibility of the district's employees.
"I can’t tell them enough how much I appreciate what they do every day,” he said, "We’ve proven that we can do anything when we lean on one another and work together."
The school district's leaders worked with the health department to secure the vaccines ahead of the current schedule. According to the state health department, Davie County had initially scheduled the vaccinations for teachers before the guidelines changed. The state allowed the health department to provide the school district with vaccines to go ahead with the vaccinations instead of canceling appointments.
"Planning has been taking place for quite some time. We confirmed this date and the number of vaccines that we would receive probably two or three weeks ago," Wallace said.
County health officials said the move would help keep teachers safe in the classroom.
"Which allows us to keep our students in the classroom and allows parents and guardians to be able to continue to work and provide for their families. So, I feel like it's a real trickle-down effect," Wendy Horne said with the Davie County Health Department.
Meanwhile, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools has partnered with Novant Health to get some of their staff vaccinated. Around 350 teachers and staff who were 65 years old and above were vaccinated at the Hanes Mall vaccination clinic, Wednesday.
Several Triad School districts remain in limbo on the issue of vaccinations for teachers and staff.
Teachers who don't fit the current eligibility requirements of 65 and older would have to wait to get vaccinated under group three.
Guilford County Schools said it would advise once vaccines are available for staff. The school district posted an update on social media about the anticipation for the vaccines.
The Guilford County Health Department said it's working closely with all relevant community stakeholders to ensure the vaccination process remains on course.
"There is a very large population in Guilford County of educators that would really like to get those vaccines as soon as possible and so we're actively working with them to plan how we can make that happen as quickly as we possibly can," Don Campbell said with Guilford County Emergency Management.
"Our health department director is in constant communication with our superintendent to let us know when Group 3 becomes active. At that point, our local health department will coordinate vaccinations for our school system employees," said Tabitha Broadway, Executive Director of Communications and Strategic Planning at Davidson County Schools.
Rockingham County Schools has sent out an interest survey to staff.
"Our hope, if the vaccine is available, is to hold events by our zones towards the end of February," Karen Hyler, a spokesperson for the district said.
"The more access to the vaccine would mean the increase in instructional time, and being able to help individuals have as many of the safety tools under their belt as possible," Dr. Stephanie Ellis of Rockingham County Schools said.
Alamance-Burlington School System spokesperson Jenny Faulkner sent this statement about vaccination plans.
"ABSS continues to work closely with our Alamance County Health Department (ACHD) and will follow the guidance they provide on timing for vaccines for educators. At this time, we do not have a specific timeline provided by our local partners at the ACHD. Our school nurses are working together with the health department to support the health department's community vaccine clinic that is being hosted at our Alamance-Burlington Career and Technical Education Center parking lot through the end of February until we expect students to return to school at the beginning of March. Additionally, school nurses are assisting with the health department vaccine clinic hosted at the Burlington Royals Baseball Athletic Stadium site in Burlington."
Surry County Schools said it has provided the Surry County Health and Nutrition Center all the names of staff members who want the vaccine.
"Previously, we had a plan ready to go under the first set of protocols before NCDHHS changed them to groupings. When that revision occurred, we had to quickly pivot to comply with the request for a different age group. We have a great partnership and have been in constant communication with our local health department," said Tracey Lewis, Director of Communications/Teacher Recruitment & Retention, Surry County Schools.
"As a school district, we have provided many updates to our staff members regarding vaccine distribution across North Carolina including the following email that was sent out today. We are certainly advocating for our employees to get the vaccine, and we are confident our staff will be vaccinated when vaccines are available," Lewis said.