Group of Beatrice Public Schools staffers set to receive vaccine in March

Lottery system determines that Beatrice Public Schools faculty members will be the first in their health district to get vaccinated.

BEATRICE, Neb. (KLKN) – In March, the Public Health Solutions District Health Department, which serves Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Saline, and Thayer counties, will begin administering COVID-19 vaccinations to school employees within its health district. Of course, not all doses will be given at once. To determine an order to administer vaccines, PHS went with a tried and true approach: picking names out of a hat over Zoom.

“Basically, what they did is they showed us each of our names into the hat, and then they drew them out just like they would any other type lottery system,” Beatrice Public Schools superintendent Jason Alexander said.

Beatrice Public Schools won the lottery and will receive the first 110 vaccine doses that will be made available to the education sector.

“We were excited that we happened to be the luck of the draw,” Alexander said. “Now it’s a matter of determining how we go about making sure we’re ready for that in the first of March when it’s available.”

Alexander says roughly 220 staff members, or 60% of the district’s staff,  were interested in receiving the vaccine. Between now and March, Beatrice Public Schools will have to determine who will ultimately receive the vaccine in the first round of the rollout.

“In the first go-around, we’ll have to work with staff to determine out of the 220 that expressed interest, we’ll have to determine who will be first in line to get those,” Alexander said.

Alexander says the district is planning on sending out a survey to those 220-plus staff members to see if some would be willing to volunteer to get their shots in the second round of the vaccine rollout. If necessary, the district is prepared to make those priority decisions based on which staffers would be at an increased risk for severe illness if they were to contract the virus, based on factors like age.

The second round of the vaccine rollout for Beatrice Public Schools staff members would take place no sooner than four to five weeks after the first round begins on March 1, and once every school district in the area receives their initial doses.

“Our staff very much looks forward to a time period when we can get back to working with kids and focusing on the educational aspects of what it is we do on a day-to-day basis, as compared to the distraction that COVID has been,” Alexander said.

Categories: Coronavirus, Education News, Gage, Jefferson, Saline