LAFAYETTE COUNTY – With about ten percent of all Americans vaccinated for covid so far, the Wisconsin Department of Health anticipates that all staff in public and privates schools will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting around March 1. Many of the area schools are working with the Lafayette County Health Department on what steps they need to take to get the vaccines done within their schools.
According to Belmont School District superintendent Dr. Wayne Anderson, about 75-80 percent of their staff would get the vaccine as soon as it is offered.
“I expect that the number will rise once they see what reactions or lack of reactions occurs with those staff who have been vaccinated,” Anderson said.
He continued that the staff is anxiously awaiting the vaccine and are excited to get it.
“It is a start to getting us back to some extremely missed events like prom, graduation and simply seeing the smiles on our students faces.”
Anderson, being over 65, has already received his first dose and is looking forward to getting his second dose later this month.
About 80-90 percent of the staff at Darlington School District plan on getting the vaccine says superintendent Cale Jackson.
“We have a plan in place to administer the vaccine in the building if it is allowed,” Jackson said.
For the most part, the general reaction from his staff has been positive.
The same can be said at the Black Hawk School District were superintendent Willy Chambers says about 80 percent of his staff have or will get the vaccine as soon as possible.
Both Belmont and Darlington have only a few students that have stayed virtual during the entire school year at about five percent. Chambers estimates they have about 10 percent that have continued with virtual learning.
“Most of the students and staff that have had to quarantine this year were due to community spread and coming in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19,” Anderson said. “We had very few staff or students that tested positive for the virus.”
Shullsburg School District is right on trend with the other districts, estimating 80-90 percent of their staff will get the vaccine.
The general reaction amongst the district is “a little bit of apprehension but a greater feeling or the possibility of some relief from the anxiety of the pandemic has caused,” says Shullsburg superintendent Mark Lierman.
Shullsburg has a greater percentage of high school students that have elected to remain in a virtual learning environment, estimating at approximately 30 percent at this time, Lierman said.
But along with Anderson, Lierman believes that this vaccine will help students, staff and district families be able to continue on.
“I believe anything we can do to assist our staff, and subsequently our families, to feel more comfortable being in the building with all of our students will create an environment that is even more welcoming and, hopefully, allow us to move on from this pandemic.”