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Decatur Schools will hold vaccination event for staff

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Decatur Schools will hold vaccination event for staff

FILE PHOTO: The DeKalb County Board of Health received 2,500 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and began vaccination of Board of Health frontline workers on Dec. 31, 2020 to be followed by long-term care facility residents and staff, and EMS personnel. Photo by Dean Hesse.
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By Sara Amis, contributor 

Decatur, GA —  Superintendent Dr. David Dude announced at the March 9 City Schools of Decatur School Board meeting that the district will be holding a vaccination event for staff this Saturday, March 13.

The event is being coordinated with the DeKalb County Board of Health and will be held in Doraville in order to accommodate the expected number of people.

“It’s the Johnson & Johnson one shot vaccine, and we anticipate being able to serve four or five hundred staff,” said Dude. He said that CSD’s nurses, who have been credentialed to give vaccines, will be administering the vaccines in coordination with the Board of Health. Dude added that if there was more demand than they could accommodate, the district would schedule a second event, and that they would hold future events within the district.

Wednesday night the district will offer an information session on vaccinations via Zoom for staff. Board member Heather Tell asked if the information session could be recorded and posted for the general public.

Renfroe Middle School principal Greg Wiseman and Decatur High School principal Rochelle Lofstrand gave favorable reports on the partial return to in person schooling this week.

Minor problems such as students not having Chromebooks were easily resolved, and Lofstrand said that only one student showed up on the wrong day for their cohort.

“Just to have kids and teachers back in that building, it’s great,” said Wiseman.

Aissistant Superintendent Maggie Fehrman reported on the ongoing plans to bring more students back to the buildings, including the problem of trying to maintain social distancing if the schools are operating at or near full capacity.

Dude was optimistic, with caveats.

“If things keep going the way they’re going, it looks like we will be able to have everyone who wants to be in person for full days in the fall,” said Dude, adding that the district would need to maintain mitigation strategies such as masks and make some kind of accommodation for meals.

Board member James Herndon expressed caution, saying that the district had made overly optimistic predictions in the past that they had had to walk back. He stated that if vaccinations continue to increase and cases continue to drop, barring any new outbreaks from variant strains of the virus, school may re open as normal in the fall with key mitigations in place.

Public comments echoed that caution.

Decatur resident Susan Camp expressed concern that surveys were not necessarily reaching all parents and therefore not giving an accurate picture of how many students actually wanted to return.

Dr. Kamika Sims pointed out that as of yet there are no vaccines approved for children under 16, and that it was unlikely that children 12 and under would be vaccinated any time soon.

“I’m concerned about the statement that school will look normal in the fall with some mitigation strategies. I’m afraid that means that we will once again be unprepared,” said Sims.

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