Teachers to receive COVID-19 vaccine during second phase of state’s rollout plan

photo by: Video screenshot/Gov. Laura Kelly's YouTube Page

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly points to where teachers, school staff and child care workers are on the state's COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan during a news conference on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. Educators are slated to begin receiving vaccinations in the second phase of the plan, which is expected in "late winter."

Lawrence educators could begin receiving a COVID-19 vaccine sometime in the next few months as they are considered second in line in the state’s rollout plan.

During a press conference Wednesday, Gov. Laura Kelly said the state’s teachers, school staff and child care workers are scheduled to begin receiving vaccinations for the virus during the second phase of the plan. A graph outlining the state’s plan shows that the second phase is slated for “late winter.”

The first phase of the rollout, which began earlier this week, prioritizes health care workers and long-term care staff. It also includes long-term care residents, according to the graph.

“(Teachers) would be at the beginning of phase two, after we take care of all the folks in long-term care and in our front-line hospital workers,” Kelly told reporters during the Wednesday press conference.

Along with educators, the plan shows the second phase includes first responders and some “public facing” workers in essential and critical jobs. It also includes individuals who are at a “high risk for adverse health consequences.”

The graph then shows that all other adults would begin receiving the vaccine in the third phase, which is expected in the spring, and then children in the fourth phase, which is expected in the summer.

“We are committed to protecting the greatest number of Kansans, fostering economic recovery, and getting our kids back into school buildings as quickly and safely as possible,” Kelly said in a news release about the plan.

Allowing teachers to receive the vaccine early may help schools stay open as the rollout takes months to complete. In Lawrence, staff makes up a little less than half of the positive cases in schools. Since Dec. 1, 21 of the district’s 47 reported cases were staff members, according to the district’s website.

Julie Boyle, a spokeswoman for the school district, did not immediately respond to the Journal-World’s request for comment on the possibility of faculty and staff receiving the vaccine.

Meanwhile, Lawrence health care workers began receiving vaccinations earlier this week, the Journal-World has reported. LMH Health leaders at a board of trustees meeting Wednesday said the hospital received about 800 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Additionally, the hospital plans to distribute vaccines quickly when possible. Through a new drive-thru on the northwest corner of the hospital’s campus, the hospital anticipates it will be able to provide between 200 and 300 vaccinations a day.

Related stories:

• Dec. 16, 2020 — First recipient of COVID-19 vaccine is LMH Health worker who ‘couldn’t sleep’ just month before due to concerns about virus

• Dec. 16, 2020 — Lawrence Memorial Hospital will begin administering COVID-19 vaccines today to health care workers and first responders

• Dec. 15, 2020 — ‘When is it going to be our turn?’: No vaccine yet, but LMH Health ready for distribution at drive-thru center

Contact Dylan Lysen

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