Teachers to get COVID-19 vaccines

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
Flags blow in the wind outside the USD 457 Educational Support Center, 1205 N. Fleming St.

The Garden City USD 457 Board of Education was updated on the status of COVID-19 within the school district and when educators interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine can expect to be vaccinated at the board's regular meeting Monday.

Heath Hogan, USD 457 deputy superintendent, said staff who have elected to get the vaccine will be vaccinated on Feb. 18 and 19.

Vaccination will be conducted by the Finney County Health Department, Hogan said.

"What they are trying to do is they're going to try to administer vaccines for anybody that wants it in terms of school personnel in two days, Feb. 18 and 19," he said. "That's not just us, USD 457, they are also including USD 363, which is Holcomb, they're also including the parochial schools and they're also including GC3."

Feb. 18 is an in-service day and staff will be sent to the Finney County Fairgrounds in time-scheduled groups over both days, Hogan said.

"Our goal, provided everything goes well, is that we will have everybody that wants to have a vaccine they will be able to receive their first shot in those two-day time periods," he said.

School personnel who receive their first dose of vaccine on Feb. 18 and 19 are scheduled to receive their second dose on March 18 and 19. March 18 lands on the first day of spring break, and administration of the second dose will be conducted just like the first dose, with personnel going to the fairgrounds in time-scheduled groups.

Hogan reminds personnel that if anyone has changed their mind and would like to participate and receive a vaccine they can contact USD 457 superintendent Steve Karlin to be added to the list. 

In other business, Hogan said positive COVID-19 cases have remained low since students and staff have returned from winter break.

"(Two weeks ago) we only had six students that were positive and zero staff members, and last week we had three student positives and again no staff members, so for the last two weeks not a single staff member has tested positive," he said.

Hogan said the district has also had better results in filling substitute requests with an average fill-rate of 71%. 

This past Thursday was the first time all school year that the district has had a 100% fill-rate, they filled all 20.5 substitute requests, Hogan said.

"That's even going back to the first week of school when we had very low numbers, I think we had seven staff members gone that first week, and we were able to fill them," he said. "To be able to do that at this time of year is significant."

In the early months of school the academic year the fill-rate was between 30% and 50%, Hogan said. The increase has been a positive for the staff and students.