COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
After the state announced plans to move into Tier 3 of its vaccination plan on March 15, school districts and health leaders are looking at how to get educators vaccinated.
During a webinar on Wednesday with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Missouri's Health Department spoke about plans to get teachers vaccinated across the state.
DESE asked districts Tuesday to send in plans to vaccinate teachers, whether that is through community events or vaccinations, or larger scale events.
Boone Hospital in Columbia is currently working with schools in Boone County and the health department to vaccinate teachers and staff that are currently eligible, but large-scale plans for educators will depend on supply.
A spokeswoman for Boone Hospital said they are waiting for supplies before setting up events for school employees after March 15.
Columbia Public Schools said it has plans for mass vaccination clinics, as well as smaller-scale distribution dependant on supply.
As vaccines are made available by the state for those in Tier 3, we are prepared to facilitate the vaccination of our employees. We have plans in place with our health partners to make that happen whether the vaccine becomes available in smaller quantities or if it becomes available in larger quantities allowing for a mass clinic. We're ready.Michelle Baumstark, Columbia Public Schools
As of Wednesday, 700 out of 3,000 CPS school employees have been vaccinated, according to the district.
Spokeswoman for Columbia/Boone County Health Department Sara Humm said the state has not released any guidelines to prioritize specific industries eligible in Tier 3, so the department will continue to work through the list.
"Granted, that could change in the next coming weeks if the state issues different guidance, then we will follow that guidance," Humm said.
She said it's hard for the health department and providers to schedule large scale events
"It's difficult to plan what we may be able to do in the next week, or two weeks or month when we don't know exactly know how much vaccine we might get," Humm said.
CPS Teacher and co-president of Columbia Missouri State Teachers Association Ariel Schwarting said it's important to find time for teachers and staff to get vaccinated that won't disrupt their time in the classroom.
"It's a challenge for teachers, especially with our substitute rate issues," Schwarting said. "The last thing we wanna do is be out of the classroom because we know how important it is to be in with our students."
Schwarting said she believes with the amount of exposure educators have with students and people on a daily basis, this is an important next step in the fight against COVID-19.
"I think that's why educators feel like they should have this opportunity because we are just being exposed every single day because you don't know," Schwarting said.