KLAMATH FALLS, Ore-- On Saturday, January 23, 2021, nearly 400 employees within the Klamath County School District(KCSD) received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
Those nearly 400 Klamath County School District staff included – teachers, cooks, bus drivers, secretaries, and others, while the vaccine that they received was their first dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccinations happened at a clinic at the Klamath County Fairgrounds.
Some areas in Klamath County have already returned back to almost a full schedule on in-person classes, while school districts in more populated areas have returned to a hybrid model.
But with the additional 400 vaccinations today, the county is making steps to help get students, teachers and other employees back into the classroom full-time.
“We really need and want to be in class with our students,” said Mariah Campbell, a kindergarten teacher at Ferguson Elementary. “The vaccine will give me a sense of peace.”
“This is our best shot at keeping students in school,” said KCSD Superintendent Glen Szymoniak. “We appreciate Klamath County Public Health, all of the volunteers here today, and the people behind the scenes who worked really hard to make this happen.”
Just this past Thursday, Klamath County Public Health determined that they had enough doses of the vaccine to be able to start vaccinating the county's educators.
“We advocated for the return to in-person education, and part of our commitment to the school district was to get doses to teachers as soon as we could,” said Jessica Dale, assistant director of Klamath County Public Health. “Educators also were the next priority group so we wanted to get this to them as soon as we could so we can start with our 80 and older and medically vulnerable populations.”
KCSD teachers have been on the front lines since September, many teaching in-person classes for three months before COVID-19 metrics forced schools statewide into distance learning. The district this month was among the first in the state to reopen all grades to hybrid and in-person learning.
And now with educators and staff getting the vaccine, it’s only a matter of time before things can get back to normal.
“I see so many students struggling with not being in school,” said Dawn Alexander, head cook at Shasta Elementary. “It’s so important that we get (the vaccine) so we can keep our schools open.”