MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - By the end of next week, thousands of Shelby County teachers will finally be vaccinated. Vaccinations for school staff will begin on Wednesday and continue into next month.
For many teachers in Shelby County, vaccinations will be brought right to their school district. Many districts are even teaming up to do joint district vaccinations.
At Shelby County Schools alone, more than 6,000 teachers will be vaccinated by the end of the week.
“You’re going to see a lot of happy faces out there, a lot of happy teachers. They’ll be so excited,” said Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris.
The Shelby County Health Department is providing nearly 10,000 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Shelby County school districts for staff vaccinations over the next two weeks. It all kicks off Wednesday with the first round of vaccinations with Shelby County Schools -- 2,000 doses will be provided to the district for vaccinations Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
The district is utilizing two sites for administration of the shots: the SCS Board of Education and the Teaching and Learning Academy on Union Avenue.
“Vaccines are not our only strategy but it’s an essential resource to keep our educators safe,” said SCS Superintendent Joris Ray.
The Shelby County Health Department announced last week on Wednesday the county will enter into phase 1b of the state’s vaccine distribution plan which includes teachers and childcare staff and those 65 and older.
While the health department is providing the vaccine, logistics and staff are up to the districts.
“We are managing, we are organizing, we are running our vaccine process. The health department is providing the vaccine and serving as vaccine custodian,” said Arlington Community Schools Superintendent Jeff Mayo.
At this point, the health department will provide vaccines to Shelby County Schools and the six other municipal school districts, Achievement School District and the area’s independent and Catholic schools which include more than two dozen schools.
Some of those districts are teaming up for vaccination events. Collierville and Germantown schools’ staff will both go to Germantown Baptist Church for their vaccines on March 5. Lakeland, Millington and Arlington schools’ staff will have a joint vaccination event at Arlington High School on Friday.
“It’s to assist the health department because that makes it so they don’t have to come to all of our districts at one point,” said Mayo. “We were able to consolidate those visits and those pods.”
Schools are also planning second-dose days. The county is asking they put setting a second dose date in stone as a high priority. Friday may be the peak day for teacher vaccinations with about 3,000 being administered.