Lawrence school district says 1,000 staff members have received first vaccine; dashboard tool launched to track rollout

photo by: Nick Krug/Journal-World File Photo

Lawrence Public Schools district offices, 110 McDonald Drive.

The Lawrence school district on Thursday reached a significant threshold for staff members receiving vaccines for COVID-19.

District spokeswoman Julie Boyle said 1,000 faculty and staff members had received a first dose of the vaccine. The milestone is important as the district works through a four-phase rollout plan to vaccinate educators before students return to fully in-person learning in the next few weeks.

The district employs about 1,800 staff members, Boyle said, but has included First Student bus drivers, substitute teachers and student teachers in the plans for a total of about 1,900 eligible staff members. With 1,000 staff members receiving a vaccine, that would mean about 53% of the district’s staff had received it.

To help track the rollout, the district on Wednesday launched a new dashboard providing statistics for each phase of the rollout, the district’s building levels and staff positions. The dashboard can be seen on the district’s website, www.usd497.org/VaccinationDashboard. Boyle said the dashboard would be updated twice daily.

However, the data only tracks information provided by staff members who have responded to the district’s surveying. As of Thursday morning, the dashboard showed about 68% of those who signed up to receive the vaccine through the district had received it, but that was among only 23% who had responded to the district’s surveying at that point.

Additionally, the data only tracks a first dose of the vaccine for staff members. Boyle said that’s because the district manages the staff members’ first dose appointments, but Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health manages appointments for the second dose; thus the district does not have the second dose data.

Earlier this month the district formulated the four-phase vaccine rollout plan at the request of the health department.

Superintendent Anthony Lewis said Monday the district was currently in its second phase of the rollout, focusing on staff who work in-person and teachers educating through the hybrid model, with the elementary school educators receiving priority. The third phase will focus on the district’s hourly staff working on site, and the fourth phase is any staff working remotely.

Previously, the first phase included staff who work closely with students, such as special education teachers, paraeducators and workers such as cafeteria staff and bus drivers.

The district’s kindergarten through fifth grade students are scheduled to return to a full week of in-person school on March 15, and students in sixth grade and up return on March 29.


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