Phoenix Union High School District to set up COVID-19 vaccine distribution sites at 4 of its campuses

Teachers across the state have been some of the first in line for the COVID-19 vaccine since Jan. 11, when Phase 1B of the state's vaccination plan went into effect.

While many have signed up to get their shots at county vaccination PODs (Point of Distribution), one school district is bringing the PODs to its campuses.

According to Phoenix Union High School District officials, Central High School, along with three of the district's other campuses, will turn into PODs for teachers and the school community for a two-day period, from Friday, Jan. 22 to Saturday, Jan. 23.

Students with PUHSD have not set foot on campus yet this school year because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the district has been doing virtual-only learning for nearly a year now.

"We’re hearing from teachers from one end of the Valley going to the other end of the Valley, in the middle of the night, 3:00 a.m., trying to get vaccinated," said Marisol Garcia with the Arizona Education Association.

Officials with the AEA say for many teachers, it’s been difficult to sign up for a vaccination slot and get to a vaccination center.  Now, PUHSD is one of the first school districts to roll out a plan to bring the vaccine to its teachers.

"I’m really excited to make things accessible and quick for folks," said Garcia. "Also, my son is a Phoenix Union student, so to me, as a parent, it makes me happy his teachers are going to get vaccinated quickly, and he will get back to school soon."

Slots are open to full and part-time employees, as well as to all public and private school K-12 personnel within the PUHSD boundaries. Each POD is expected to distribute 1,500 vaccination per day.

"We do believe we will vaccinate between 10,000 to 14,000 individuals in our POD," said Phoenix Union High School District Superintendent Dr. Chad Gestson.

Dr. Gestson says PUHSD will be following the county health metrics, and will return to in-person learning once the metrics show it’s safe. That could be in February or March.
"Right now, the data is not very promising. In fact, the county released health data today, and the spread has gotten worse," said Dr. Gestson.
"This is the one thing about the virus: we’re not in charge," said Garcia. "We’re all in this wait-and-see pattern."

A link for PUHSD school employees to sign up to get vaccinated at one of the campus PODs will be distributed tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Paradise Valley and Scottsdale Unified school districts are teaming up for a three-day vaccination blit. Those districts are working with HonorHealth, which is dedicating one of its PODs strictly to district employees only, from Jan. 22 to Jan. 24.

MORE: How to sign up and schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment


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COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

COVID-19 resources

CDC Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)