When the first round of vaccinations were offered up to school staff and child-care workers earlier this month, let's just say area school districts had to be picky in who received them.
Eastern Carver County Schools received 21 doses. Burnsville-Eagan-Savage checked in at 20 with Shakopee and Prior Lake-Savage schools receiving 18 each. Jordan Public Schools was given six in total.
When your school district includes roughly 2,000 staff members that will be offered the option of receiving a vaccine, 21 isn't really cutting it.
"Our list of staff includes teachers, school staff, community education staff, and contracted workers like our school bus drivers. We are working as quickly and intentionally as we are able, often with very little advance notice, to get vaccines distributed to staff based on age, assignment, and other factors outlined in the state guidance for determining priority distribution," Celi Haga, Director of Communication for Eastern Carver County Schools, said.
More vaccines are on the way, state officials revealed Monday. A vaccination site at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul plans to vaccinate 15,000 educators, schools staff and child-care workers from the Twin Cities metro between Thursday, Jan. 28, through Monday, Feb. 1.
School and child-care leaders will work directly with employees to arrange appointments. Workers providing in-person services are prioritized.
"Our district has been told to make 471 staff aware of this opportunity, but unlike last week, vaccines are available on a first-come, first served basis, so none of our staff are guaranteed vaccinations in this round. We will do everything we can to make them aware as soon as we are of the sign-up link in the hopes that as many of them as possible are able to take advantage of this opportunity," Haga said.
As of Tuesday morning, Haga and District 112 had yet to receive any further information from the state other than what was communicated yesterday.
"We are doing everything we can to make sure our staff are vaccinated as quickly as possible, but it’s still a waiting game," Haga said.
Prior Lake-Savage Director of Communication Kristi Mussman said, like the first allotment, the district followed guidance from the state to make prioritizations for who would be included among the 381 vaccine slots.
During week one of the vaccine pilot program Jordan Public Schools were offered six doses. This week, it was up to 96, Communications Director Kat Pass said.
As of Tuesday, Jan. 26, Minnesota has administered 353,113 vaccine doses with 284,441 residents getting at least one dose and 67,567receiving both doses required for maximum effectiveness.
Minnesota launched a COVID-19 vaccine pilot program on Jan. 18, partnering with local public health and school districts to initially serve adults 65 years of age or older, as well as pre-kindergarten through grade 12 educators, school staff and child care workers.
All early learning through grade 12 school staff at public, nonpublic and tribal schools including staff who contract with schools, such as bus drivers, are eligible to receive the vaccine. Staff working in licensed and non-school based certified child care programs, including licensed family child care providers, who are working in-person onsite are included in this pilot; school-based certified centers are included in school allocation as district employees.
Child care providers are selected for the pilot program through a random process.
School and child care staff will be instructed to bring a school ID badge, paystub, or provide their child care license number if selected for a vaccine appointment.
"We made changes to Minnesota’s community vaccination efforts. No matter how many doses we get from the federal government, whether it’s a few thousand or many more, we're going to get the vaccine we have quickly into Minnesotans’ arms," Walz said in a release. "Our educators are heroes of this pandemic – we must do everything we can to keep them safe."