PORTSMOUTH —With the goal of getting students back to the classroom in person, Portsmouth City Schools’ teachers and staff received their first dose of the COVID vaccine Thursday.
As promised by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, teachers are beginning to get the first doses of their COVID shots. This is just one step for teachers and students to begin the process of returning to education that they have not seen since March 2020.
Portsmouth City Schools Superintendent Scott Dutey was not available for comment, but School Administrator, Josh Morris spoke briefly on how vaccinations were going within the school district.
“I mean, from everybody in there, I think everybody was kind of nervous but with excitement thinking this will help us turn the corner of this pandemic,” Morris said. “The buzz and conversation that was in the room was that we’re just all doing our small part in the midst of this giant pandemic.”
Morris added that he thought that Portsmouth City teachers were among the first in the state to be receiving the vaccine.
“The Portsmouth City Health Department, along with the Portsmouth City Fire Department, came in and set up time slots for people to come get their vaccine,” Portsmouth City District nurse, Heather Walker said. “It went super smooth, especially with a wrench in the day with the school having a snow day. Everybody who wanted to get the vaccine was able to do so, 100% turnout of staff who wanted to receive the vaccine was able to come in.”
Walker shared 169 school employees signed up to receive the vaccine Thursday, including teachers, kitchen staff, aides, custodians, administrative staff, secretaries, and anyone who would be involved with students who wanted the vaccine. Walker said that she knew that they were the first educators in Scioto County to receive the vaccine. Walker explained the Scioto County Health Department has a bigger population to deal with than the city, which is why other districts in the county are behind receiving vaccinations then the city health department.
“They gave us the date and we jumped on it,” Walker said. “I think morale was very high and everyone was very excited and positive. This year has been really tough for everyone involved in the school, including parents. I think to try to get things as close to normal as we can, everybody is excited to do that.”
“We are vaccinating the school today in order to accommodate doing second doses for others next week,” PCHD Interim Administrator Belinda Leslie said. “We are still scheduling anyone 75 and over who may call, but we have FD staff to help today that we may not have the first of the week.”
The Portsmouth City Health Department said they could vaccinate the city school district due to the smaller jurisdiction. The department stated it has vaccinated the 75 and over population that has called to schedule an appointment and are still scheduling for anyone 75 and over who want a vaccine.
If you live in the city, meet requirements, and would like to register for the vaccine, please call 740-352-7020.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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