SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – On Thursday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced the start of an initiative some teachers and staff members have been begging for since December: the opportunity to get a vaccine.
The opportunity has also been extended to adults with developmental or intellectual disabilities and adults with children with complex medical conditions. In total, that includes more than 1 million Georgians, according to the governor.
Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) administrators say they are grateful to be included in this next phase of vaccinations.
“While we’re not surprised by this announcement, we’re certainly grateful and we welcome it,” said SCCPSS Chief Public Affairs and Administrative Services Officer Kurt Hetager
Recent polls indicate that about half of SCCPSS staff would get the vaccine. In total, there are about 5,600 staff members. Because about 500 people have already received the vaccine, that means up to 3,000 are likely to opt-in.
“We will be doing whatever it takes,” said Nursing Administrator Lisa Wilson.
Wilson says the district has been planning for this announcement for weeks. That includes training 60 school nurses on how to administer the coronavirus shot, which is a very tedious process.
“For us, as a team, it means the opportunity to give hope to our staff, to our students, and to our community,” explained Wilson.
SCCPSS is working with community partners and the Coastal Health District to host large vaccine clinics. Upcoming clinics, by popular demand, will likely happen on weeknights or on weekends after March 8.
Logistics depend on one factor: supply.
“We do have several plans sketched out, but we haven’t pegged them to a specific location as of yet because of the scheduling piece and because of not knowing how much vaccine we have,” said Coastal Health District Health Director Dr. Lawton Davis. “But this is all something that can be done in 24-48 hours, very easily.”
The school district says emails are coming soon on how to get vaccinated. Vaccines will not be mandated.
Officials say people who have an approved medical exception will not have to return for in-person learning if they are vaccinated.