Beebe School District Superintendent Dr. Chris Nail was unsure during a Zoom meeting Tuesday morning exactly when the district would be administering the two-dose Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to its teachers, administrators and staff, but he said he was hoping it would be before the end of the month.
The deadline for signing up for the shots is today, and Nail rolled out the district’s plans for the inoculations.
Nail said Beebe Drug and Burrow’s Drug Store pharmacists would be administering the vaccines to the district, which pivoted to virtual learning temporarily Jan. 8 because “our numbers escalated very, very highly.”
Beebe welcomed back students attending classes on-site Jan. 4, but “we have to rethink about what’s going on,” Nail said. “I want you to know that every day we worry very much about everybody’s safety.”
Those who opt in to receive the vaccines are being encouraged to wear a short sleeve shirt. The shot will be given in the upper arm. Nail said the pharmacies get approximately 100 doses a week. When the district’s turn comes up, they will email Nail and let him know.
On the first day, kindergarten-sixth-grade staff, including day care and pre-K, will receive their first dose at the early childhood cafeteria, Nail said. On Day 2, seventh-12th-grade staff will receive the shot in the main cafeteria. Food service staff will go with their building. Transportation staff will go with seventh through 12th. Central office and technology will go with kindergarten through sixth grade.
After an individual gets the vaccine, that person must stay in a holding area for 20 minutes. In that area, school nurses will be set up and snacks and drinks will be provided.
“We are going to have WiFi on; we are going to have music going,” Nail said. “It’s going to be Dr. Nail’s little lounge in there. If you sign up and take the vaccine, on the day of the vaccine, we’re going to give you a T-shirt and it will have our ‘Badger Strong’ there with a little needle in his arm, crushing the virus.”
Nail said after three years at Beebe, he knows everybody loves T-shirts.
The second doses will be given the exact same way as the firsts, Nail noted.
Holly Glover, director of curriculum, said those going with the early childhood group to get vaccines should park in the main lot of the building and go to the front door. Stations will be set up 6 feet apart and the first station will be a check-in center where people will show their copy of their driver’s license, their health insurance card and their Moderna form. The next station will be the waiting area for the vaccine.
The vaccinations will be given in the gym area, where four stations will be available. Two pharmacists from each of the pharmacies will be there. Glover said once people are done receiving their vaccines, they will exit the gym and go straight across the hall to the cafeteria, where chairs will be set up. Snacks and drinks will be available here. Nurses will be monitoring the times. When people are finished, they will exit the side door and go through the hallway and through the other set of doors where they entered.
For the seventh through 12th group, the vaccine location will be in the main cafeteria. This group will enter in the front area with the 6 feet apart dividers for each person who is entering. There will be a check-in station and their vaccine site will be in the library, with four stations for dose administrations. People will exit through the opposite set of doors and go straight to the cafeteria for snacks and drinks, and nurses will be present to monitor the 20-minute holding times. They will exit through the west entrance of the main cafeteria.
Nail said the day of the vaccine, students will not be on campus. During the four days (for both doses to be given), students will pivot to virtual. Nail said on those days, students will be fed. On virtual days, Nail called food service a “massive operation.”
Faculty and staff members will report to their buildings at normal times on the days of vaccination. They will be informed by the administrator of their building to report to their vaccine center. Nail said the district would “support the fire out” of everyone getting the vaccine.
Nail said he was not on the Zoom meeting to convince people to take the vaccine, rather he talked about why he was going to take it. He said he has talked to his doctor, who has convinced him that the vaccine was safe, and he encouraged everyone to do their own research.
“I don’t think Facebook is an appropriate place to make your decision on whether you take the vaccine or not,” Nail said. “Read the material out there and make your own decisions for it.”
If anyone decides to opt in to receiving the vaccines, Nail said the district would provide both shots. The second one would be given 28 days after the first one.
In Searcy, Superintendent Diane Barrett took the first round of the vaccine Wednesday, according to the district, receiving her shot from Peyton Harvey from Stott’s Drug Co. The Searcy School District has not publicly announced plans for inoculating its staff.