School district's vaccine effort nearing completion
With the start date for partial in-person learning approaching next month, the Newberg School District is working overtime to make sure its staff members are vaccinated for COVID-19.
Educators are among those able to be vaccinated under Oregon Health Authority guidance and Newberg teachers and staff are taking care of their shots in short order.
"We are way ahead of schedule," district communications coordinator Gregg Koskela said on Feb. 9. "Thanks to our partners at Yamhill County Health and TVF&R, we have vaccinated 371 of our staff members at our clinics, and on (Feb. 11) we will do 96 more. That means less than 80 left to go of our entire staff at that point."
The Yamhill County Public Health Department has exceeded its planned schedule for vaccinating Newberg teachers, as well as other educators throughout the region. There was a clinic at the Newberg High School gym run by the county along with two clinics at McMinnville High School run by some combination of the county and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue officials.
Koskela said the district prioritized when certain educators got the shots – which are from Moderna and boast a 95% efficacy – based on risk factors like age, preexisting conditions, etc., as it worked its way down the list of all its participating staff members. Soon, all who didn't have a medical or personal exemption will be vaccinated. The all-important second doses are on the way in the coming weeks as well.
"Yamhill County keeps the schedule and makes sure that people who receive their vaccine get their second dose on a fixed schedule," Koskela said. "TVF&R is giving people their second dose date after they receive the first dose, so our staff are at different paces with this, but everyone should get the second dose without issue. We've been ahead of schedule on first doses so we're confident we'll be fine on second doses."
Newberg and Dundee kindergartners are slated to return to partial in-person learning, referred to by the district as "hybrid learning," on March 8 barring any COVID-related delays, with incremental groups of elementary school students coming back each week after that, followed by the middle and high school students in the district.
"We built our schedule based on staff having two doses plus at least a week to build immunity," Koskela said. "Our kindergarten teachers will have two doses with one week immunity, and everyone else will have two weeks or more after the second shot. We feel really good about what we've done and what we've asked our staff to do."
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