School districts work on vaccination plans as teachers will be eligible in NC next week

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Teachers in North Carolina will be eligible to get their vaccine in less than a week.

School districts are working to see how they can vaccinate their employees as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“I feel very safe entering the building, of course, I wish I had a vaccine and I can’t wait to get one. I’d feel even safer if I had one,” said WCPSS teacher Trudy Price-O’Neil.

The Wake County Public School System created a vaccine team to make that happen.

They’ve been in communication with both public and private health officials to look at their options.

“It’s going to have to move quickly to make sure on the very first day as many educators as possible can get in and get access to that vaccine,” said WCPSS superintendent Cathy Moore.

They’re considering everything from vaccinating teachers at the schools to having special vaccination days or locations for them.  Durham Public Schools is doing something similar.

“We’re looking at all of those options, and it depends on the amount of vaccine available for which options we’ll put into place,” said Chip Sudderth, chief communications officer for DPS.

DPS is working with Duke Health and Durham County Public Health to see what would work best.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm about that,” said Sudderth.

Educator advocates are calling on more guidance from the state to help districts and hospitals navigate these plans.

“We are already seeing hospitals, such as Duke and other entities, work with local school districts to set up special event clinics just for educators,” said Tamika Walker Kelly, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators.

Many educators already fall into the current eligible vaccine groups.

School district leaders said they’ve encouraged them to get vaccinated when they can but will hopefully have more specific answers for clinics or vaccination days soon.

Beginning February 24, educators and school personnel, which includes bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and custodians, will be the first in Group 3 to get the vaccine.

Gov. Roy Cooper made the announcement on Feb. 10.

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