Area teachers say they’re ready for the COVID-19 vaccine

Survey results from teachers in and around Lincoln show lots of support for getting the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – As vaccinations for COVID-19 continue, educators and school staff say they’re prepared and willing to get their shots when they become available.

“Ultimately, we want to get back to normal, Freeman’s had school every day, we’ve been in session everyday first semester and into the second semester and that’s our goal. So I think our staff realize that having the vaccine will potentially strengthen our chances to have school for the rest of the year,” says Andrew Havelka, superintendent of Freeman Public Schools.
The Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD), as well as departments surrounding Lancaster County, recently sent surveys to school districts.
“[We’re] getting a general idea of the desire to have vaccinations, ” said health director Pat Lopez on January 5. “You know, numbers are really high, over 86%. That seems to be fairly prevalent for educators and staff at all the schools.”
That 86% are responses from personnel from Lincoln Public Schools who are willing to take the vaccine. However, that’s only based on the 76% of staff that responded to the survey.
Across the board, though, numbers in favor of vaccines have been high.
In Freeman Public Schools, it’s at 69%.
“There were 89 individuals that we surveyed and the results we got back were 61 [who] indicated they were interested in the vaccine,” Havelka says.
However, that number isn’t final, either. Havelka says some staff in his district may have responded no due to already being vaccinated through other employers or volunteer positions. He also indicates that those who have tested positive might not think they still need the vaccine.
“There were 11 individuals on our staff that have had  COVID since it began and so that may have been a reason why someone may have chosen not to have the vaccine,” he says. “We’re still waiting to hear back from our local health authority to know if those who have had it already should get the vaccine.”
In surrounding school districts, the story is much of the same.
In Waverly, superintendent Cory Worrell says of the 305 staff, 77% of those who responded to the survey said they would be interested in getting the vaccine.
In Crete, 210 out of the 320 staff members responded to the survey, 92% of which said ‘yes’ to the vaccine. However, if you count the missing 110 responses as ‘no,’ that number would drop to 60% who say ‘yes.’ Superintendent Joshua McDowell says he is and will continue to encourage more staff members to take the survey.
Ray Collins, superintendent of Wilber/Clatonia, says of his 85 staff members, he received 72 responses. 81.9% said ‘yes’ to the vaccine, and 18.1% said ‘no.’
Raymond Central superintendent Derrick Joel says out of 140 staff members, to which 90% responded ‘yes.’
All the superintendents who spoke to Channel 8 say they, too, would be willing to get the vaccine, including Havelka.
“If given the opportunity, and it sounds like that will be in the next couple of months, I will definitely get the vaccine.”
Superintendents from Malcolm, Milford, Norris and Palmyra have not yet responded to Channel 8 with their survey results.
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