228 vaccines coming to KC staff by March 15
MILL HALL — More than 200 staff members at the Keystone Central School District will have access to the COVID-19 vaccine very soon.
KCSD superintendent Jacquelyn Martin announced during Thursday night’s school board work session that up to 228 KCSD staff members will have access to vaccines starting on Wednesday, March 10.
“Pennsylvania has created an opportunity for school staff to be prioritized in the vaccination process,” Martin explained. “Our staff members and our bus drivers … are still eligible under this plan. All of them have been asked to complete the survey to determine who would like to be vaccinated through this process.”
The vaccines will be available, Martin said, in State College between Wednesday, March 10 and Monday, March 15.
“It’s a very rapid process,” Martin said.
With 228 vaccines allotted to KCSD, Martin said that the school district would have to “prioritize according to the criteria.”
“It’s an aggressive timeline. We’re looking at having 228 shots in the arm just for Keystone Central folks by March 15. There’s a lot of information and coordinating that has to happen in that time period,” Martin said.
The vaccination program will be run through the Central Intermediate Unit, which covers Centre, Clinton and Clearfield counties.
For those who miss out on the vaccine this time around, Martin said that she expects a “second round as more doses become available.”
“As with everything during this pandemic, everything is subject to change,” Martin said. “We continue to be flexible and responsive for what’s thrown at us, we will continue to keep everyone updated in the process.”
Staff members are not required to get the vaccine, Martin said.
Earlier this week, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced that the state had a plan to “help protect school communities and get more students back into classrooms by vaccinating teachers and other school staff.”
According to a news release from the governor’s office, the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force announced that Pennsylvania will use the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) single-dose COVID-19 vaccine for preK-12 teachers and other school staff.
Gov. Wolf was joined by task force members Sen. Art Haywood, from the Senate Democratic Caucus, Rep. Bridget Kosierowski from the House Democratic Caucus, Sen. Ryan Aument from the Senate Republican Caucus and Rep. Tim O’Neal from the House Republican Caucus.
“This new single-dose vaccine adds another layer of support to get students and teachers back in the classroom,” Gov. Wolf said. “Teachers and staff who work with our children will be vaccinated, and I commend the task force and all of our partners for their tremendous commitment to their schools and communities.”
The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last weekend authorized the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use.
To quickly get the vaccine into educators’ arms, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the departments of Education and Health are partnering with the 28 Intermediate Units (IUs) to establish vaccine sites. The Pennsylvania National Guard and AMI Expeditionary Healthcare (AMI) will administer the vaccine. Philadelphia operates its own separate vaccine distribution. The vaccination of educators is separate from the ongoing Phase 1A vaccine rollout, which continues at an accelerated pace.
The initial priority is vaccinating school staff that have regular and sustained in-person contact with students during the regular school day, including teachers and staff providing pre-K and elementary instruction, special education, English learners and associated support because younger children are more susceptible to learning loss and their families are more likely to have childcare challenges.
“The approval of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine provides a great opportunity to launch this special initiative to vaccinate all teachers, child care workers and school staff without interrupting the flow of vaccine local providers have already administered to more than 1.8 million Pennsylvanians,” said Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam.
The Keystone Central school board will meet for a voting session at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 11. The meeting is closed to the public, but will be accessible through the district’s website.