Coronavirus, Education, Health

Atlanta School Districts Finalize Vaccination Plans For Staff Members

Gov. Brian Kemp moved Georgia educators into vaccine group 1A+, meaning they could start getting their COVID-19 vaccines this week.
Gov. Brian Kemp moved Georgia educators into vaccine group 1A+, meaning they could start getting their COVID-19 vaccines this week.
Credit Jeff Chiu / Associated PRess
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Metro Atlanta school districts are finalizing plans to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to thousands of teachers and other staff members. Gov. Brian Kemp moved educators into vaccine group 1A+, meaning they could start getting inoculated this week.

Clayton County Public Schools partnered with county health officials to administer vaccines at the North Jonesboro Center. Appointments are available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays in March from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Clayton teachers can sign up through the employee portal on the district’s website.

DeKalb County teachers can receive vaccines at the district’s Administrative and Instructional Complex. The DeKalb County Board of Health will distribute vaccines to employees on March 20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Staff will receive registration information next week, the district says.

“We are encouraged by the continued partnership with the DeKalb County Board of Health, and our other community partners to provide vaccines and testing,” DeKalb Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris said in a statement. “The vaccine is not mandated, but we wanted to make sure our employees had access after the state adjusted the roll-out schedule.”

Employees of the Fulton County Schools will be able to get their shots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Fulton County Board of Health will provide the Pfizer vaccine for employees. They can get the first shot in the series from March 22 to 27 and the second shot from April 12 to 17 between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day. The district will move some classes online during those days.

Cobb educators will be able to sign up for drive-thru vaccine events, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on four different days at Jim R. Miller Park:

  • Friday, March 19
  • Saturday, March 20
  • Friday, March 26
  • Saturday, March 27

After staff members receive their first dose, they’ll be scheduled for a second dose on April 16, April 17, April 23 or April 24.

Classes will shift to remote learning on those days to accommodate the vaccine schedule.

The school system says staff will have to use their district login if they’d like to make an appointment and will have to present district badges when they arrive at the site.

Gwinnett County teachers were able to receive their first shots starting this week at the Sears at Gwinnett Place Mall. Gov. Kemp stopped by the site Monday, March 8. He said school systems are doing a great job distributing vaccines for the most part. In Gwinnett, he singled out school district and county officials for organizing the massive effort.

“…with Superintendent (Alvin) Wilbanks working with the local health department,” Kemp said. “He praised them earlier about what a good partnership they’ve had.”

Then Kemp took aim at Atlanta Public Schools, which has planned its vaccination event later this month at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“I would remind you that the Atlanta Public Schools board [sic] sent me a letter demanding that teachers needed to be vaccinated when they knew dang well I couldn’t do that,” Kemp said. “And now they’re going to wait two or three weeks. I believe they’re doing a disservice to their teachers. They should be getting the vaccines done today or do like many school systems are and doing that Thursday or Friday so people have the weekend to fully get over that first shot and get back into the classroom.”

APS employees can get the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on March 24, March 26 to 27, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The second dose will be administered on April 14, April 16 to 17, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

APS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring issued a statement to WABE in response to Kemp’s comments. It reads in part:

“Governor Kemp’s comments … are very unfortunate and do not reflect the planning, advocacy, and commitment Atlanta Public Schools (APS) has to protect its students and staff. APS has been a state leader on the COVID-19 issue in public schools from day one. We were not only one of the first systems to go virtual to protect our staff and students, we were the first to use COVID-19 surveillance testing in our system to detect COVID-19 and reduce its spread. We have been working with the Fulton County Board of Health (FCBOH) since December to vaccinate all educators and, as Governor Kemp should know, are scheduled to provide vaccines on the first day the allocations are available in Fulton County.”

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