PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. - The Florence Unified School District partnered up with the Pinal County Health Department to get vaccinations for teachers and staff. They say at this point, they have at least a quarter of their teachers vaccinated.
PCHD has been working with the FUSD to make sure teachers who want to get the vaccine have access to it. So far, they've been successful in getting many in the district vaccinated.
Every teacher at FUSD that has wanted a COVID-19 vaccine and physically able to do so has received one.
The district says at least 120 teachers who responded to a survey have received the vaccine, which comes out to about a quarter of the district's teacher population.
"We sent out our initial survey on Feb. 2, basically asking employee status of the vaccine," said FUSD's Rita Ann Ezzai.
Ezzai says teachers who opted not to get the vaccine right now are currently battling COVID-19 and quarantining, so they are temporarily holding off on getting the vaccine.
Then a follow-up survey was released. Around 20% of employees, including staff members were waiting for an appointment to get the vaccine.
"So we have received a great deal of response from employees wanting to get the vaccine," said Ezzai.
Superintendent Chris Knutsen says after a number of teachers came down with the virus earlier in the year, they had to return to virtual learning.
"We got to the point where we did not have enough people to cover because we had 61 teachers out on quarantine."
But the hope is that by having all these teachers vaccinated, they will be able to get back to some degree or normalcy.
"We want everyone to return safely so we can continue to provide high quality in-person instruction for all our students at FUSD," said Ezzai.
The kindergarten through 8th grade students have already returned to in-person learning and the high schoolers are set to return during the week of Feb. 15.
Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic:
In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Monitor your health daily