MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray greeted SCS employees Wednesday awaiting the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m just so excited about the partnership we’ve had with the Shelby County Health Department,” said Ray. “Mayor Harris and his team were really making this day possible and just my board members for being so supportive.”
Ray stood alongside Harris Wednesday who said this vaccination process is happening earlier than expected.
“It’s coming off without a hitch, a lot of smiling faces, a lot of excitement and so we’re just pleased that this is happening in the county,” Harris said.
The district planned to vaccinate 2,000 employees Wednesday with a goal of 6,000 by Friday.
In-person learning begins for some students Monday.
“I am privileged to not have had COVID,” said Armani Alexander, fifth grade teacher at Treadwell Elementary School. “So going back into the classroom initially for me was a little bit of ‘I don’t know’ because I was nervous there was just going to be too many kids in the classroom. Now that I have the ability to get this shot, I think I feel a little bit more comfortable.”
Hundreds of teachers already received the first dose of the vaccine last week after the county had extra vaccines that needed to be used before they expired.
Dr. Patricia Bafford, senior manager of Shelby County Schools Health Services, said last week’s experience administering the vaccine helped the district with this rollout process.
“That dry run helped us tremendously to prepare for today because we were able to get in, get it set up, get a feel for what it would look like. Have our nurses to actually get in and get familiar with the forms,” Bafford said.
She also says the vaccines are being administered by 15 SCS school nurses with the help of two nurses from LeBonheur Children’s Hospital.
Vaccinations will be given out at SCS Headquarters and the district’s Teacher Learning Academy.
Teachers like Jashlyn Smith say they feel relieved as they prepare to teach in-person once again.
“I think any precautionary measure that you can take, you should take so I’m excited. At the same time, I’m fearful, but I’m more excited,” said Smith.