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Teacher vaccinations gaining steam as Sarpy-Cass sets start date of March 1

Teacher vaccinations gaining steam as Sarpy-Cass sets start date of March 1

Omaha Public Schools elementary and middle school students are returning to school five days a week for the first time since March.

The good news keeps coming for Nebraska teachers eager to get their COVID-19 vaccinations.

Officials at the Sarpy-Cass Health Department notified school officials Thursday that vaccinations of teachers and other school employees will begin the week of March 1.

The news comes on the heels of Wednesday’s announcement that Douglas County teacher vaccinations will start next week.

Lincoln teachers were told this week that they can begin registering for vaccinations that are likely to begin within three weeks.

Some areas of the state are even farther ahead on vaccinating teachers.

At Grand Island High School on Friday, 704 school employees, including some from other schools and districts, were vaccinated, according to district spokesman Joshua Planos.

The number included 458 who are employees of the Grand Island Public Schools, Planos said. Of those, 180 received their second dose.

Grand Island Superintendent Tawana Grover called it “a historic day for our district and its ability to continue to hold in-person schooling.”

The state is still directing health departments to use 90% of their vaccination allotments for people 65 and older. Some teachers and substitutes have been vaccinated through that effort.

For other educators, the doses will come from the 10% of the vaccines that health departments are authorized to put toward vaccinating essential worker groups as laid out in the state’s priority system.

Health departments across the state have been working their way through that priority list, which puts first responders, utility workers and staff of homeless shelters and correctional facilities ahead of teachers.

Officials are saying that the amount of vaccine available for teachers initially could be limited.

In Sarpy and Cass Counties, vaccines will be administered to employees according to a plan worked out between the health department and school districts, said Papillion La Vista Public Schools spokeswoman Annette Eyman.

Each school district will be provided a percentage of the total vaccinations available each week, based on student enrollment numbers.

Districts will help coordinate the scheduling of the vaccinations for their employees.

The order in which educators are vaccinated will depend on their age and how much contact they have with students.

Employees will be divided into two groups: Those with direct, sustained contact with students will be vaccinated first. Those who don’t have direct, sustained contact will be next.

Within each group, the vaccination order will be oldest to youngest.

Everything you need to know about COVID-19 vaccination, 402-444-1077

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Joe covers education for The World-Herald, focusing on pre-kindergarten through high school. Phone: 402-444-1077.

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