Jefferson County teachers and other employees at public and private K-12 schools will begin receiving the coronavirus vaccine on Jan. 22, according to city leaders. That’s about a week earlier than anticipated.
“I know we use this term a lot the past month, ‘we have a light at the end of the tunnel.’ But I think that light keeps getting brighter,” Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Superintendent Marty Pollio said during a press conference Friday.
Pollio said he will recommend opening schools to in-person classes once employees have received both doses in late February or early March. He plans to recommend opening grade by grade, starting with kindergarten. That means staff who serve younger students will also be the first to get vaccinated.
“We will have a focus on opening up our primary grades and schools first. That’s why we will start with elementary schools,” he said.
Pollio and city health officials say it will take two weeks to get the first dose to all 13,000 who requested it. Staff will receive their vaccines at the drive-thru site at Broadbent Arena.
JCPS staff say elementary school staff will be vaccinated first, though it’s not clear if all staff will be vaccinated, or only those serving certain grades. The district will vaccinate school by school, in alphabetical order of the school’s name.
After members of the Jefferson County Board of Education voiced concern about high-need students last week, Pollio had told members the district would also consider prioritizing staff who serve high-need students, such as students learning English and those with disabilities. However, in an email, JCPS spokeswoman Renee Murphy said, “the plan is still to go by grade level beginning with primary school-based staff.”
John Boyle contributed to this reporting.