Calcasieu Parish School Board administering vaccines to teachers this week

Updated: Feb. 24, 2021 at 5:21 AM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - It’s the teacher’s turn to roll up their sleeves this week for the COVID-19 vaccine. Hundreds of Calcasieu Parish Public School employees are set to get their first shot this week.

We spoke with the risk manager for the Calcasieu School Board, Skylar Fontenot, who says this is about helping both teachers and students, “This community needs our schools to be open and I think vaccines are just another way of providing the extra layer of protection.”

Nearly 3,000 teachers across the parish are now eligible for the vaccine.

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

Though she says not all the absences were due to staff or teachers actually contracting the virus. Some were due to quarantines as a result of being in direct contact with someone that was COVID positive.

Fontenot says staffing has been one of the district’s biggest challenges and hopefully the vaccine will eradicate that issue, “We’ve been grateful because we’ve not had to obviously close our entire school system down. So, that’s a win for us.”

Since the height of COVID, the board has worked to improve its mitigation protocols to allow for in-person learning 5 days a week.

“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 district has also said that employees will not be required to disclose if they have or have not received the vaccine.

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