Nearly 60 percent of Calcasieu K-12 staff interested in COVID-19 vaccine

VIDEO: CPSB COVID VACCINE

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - It’s the teacher’s turn now to roll up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine will be available to Calcasieu Parish School Board employees this week, according to school board officials.

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Friday that eligibility for the vaccine has been expanded to include teachers.

The school board is currently working with the following providers to administer the vaccine:

· Boudreaux’s New Drug Store

· Prime Occupational Medicine

· Lake Charles Memorial Hospital

· Ochsner CHRISTUS Health Center – Lake Area

º Dequincy Memorial Hospital

º West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital

According to the school board, more than half of the district’s employees have already signed up or expressed some interest in getting the vaccine.

“We sent out a survey to gauge the interest of our employees,” said Fontenot. “The result of that survey proved that over 58% of the employees that responded were interested in the vaccine.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Risk Manager Skylar Fontenot says local schools have faced a number of challenges--one of the biggest challenges being staffing.

”This community needs our schools to be open and I think vaccines are just another way of providing the extra layer of protection,” said Fontenot.

Fontenot said over the course of the last school year, they’ve identified just over 1,400 employees who at some point were out due to COVID-19.

“We have processed 1,450 employees for being out due to COVID-19 since May 2020.  675 have tested positive, the remaining 775 were either identified as close contacts, needed to provide childcare because their child was in self-quarantine, or daycare was closed due to COVID.”

Providers will begin administering vaccinations this week. All school board employees received communication on Friday regarding these efforts.

“So, we’ve set up clinic hours specifically for our employees and they just have to register and we’ve already had a great response,” Fontenot said.

She says staffing has been the district’s biggest concern and, hopefully, the administering of the vaccine will help.

”We’ve been grateful because we’ve not had to obviously close our entire school system down. So, that’s a win for us,” said Fontenot. “Between the original COVID shutdown and the storms, we’ve had a lot of teachers out of the classroom. Although we thought it was important to provide this resource to teachers, We wanted to find an avenue that would not disrupt the educational day.”

The vaccine is optional for school board employees, according to a news release from Holly Holland, public information officer for the Calcasieu Parish School Board.

For updated information about COVID vaccinations visit http://www.cpsb.org/covidvaccine

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