Diocese of Lake Charles Catholic Schools among those receiving COVID-19 vaccine

Updated: Feb. 25, 2021 at 8:40 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Teachers and other staff members of Diocese of Lake Charles Catholic Schools were among those in line to receive their vaccine.

They were informed of their eligibility last week through their partnership with Ochsner Christus Health.

“Having those already built relationships with these community businesses and school boards and the diocese really gave us an opportunity to have that direct conversation and find out what their needs were as far as how to adjust clinic hours and things like that,” says Lance Armentor, Vice President for Ochsner Christ Clinic Operations.

He explains it’s all through a workforce wellness program, run by Louise McDaniel.

“Working with her has been able to connect us with the Calcasieu Parish School Board and the charter schools and the Diocese of Lake Charles, to really be able to let them know our hours of availability, open schedules up on Saturday and extended hours during the week to kind of help out with the teachers and all the staff that worked in the school systems and allow them a spot to be able to come and receive their vaccine.”

Superintendent Kimberlee Gazzolo says she was excited to be a part of this historic moment.

“While we know it doesn’t offer 100 percent protection from getting the COVID-19, I think what it does is it lessens the symptoms, it will reduce those hospitalizations, and of course it’ll reduce deaths. And it’ll give us a layer of security that we didn’t have before. "

With many in her district, both teachers and students having tested positive for COVID-19, she hopes this is one step closer to achieving normalcy.

“We’ve had teachers that have had to be quarantined, as well as students through our contact tracing program, and I think this gives us one more layer of protection that we’re just really excited about so we can return to some sense of normalcy.”

Though she explains this wouldn’t change COVID-19 protocols in their schools.

“We’re still going to follow all of the safety mitigation measures that the state asks us to do and the Department of Education asks us to do. and we’re very comfortable with those. Those have been working very well for us.”

Gazzolo says around 45 percent across the Diocese Schools will be receiving their vaccine in the next few weeks.

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