Louisiana teachers, staff all await arrival of COVID-19 vaccine

Updated: Jan. 6, 2021 at 9:47 PM CST
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Both school districts in Caddo and Bossier parishes say they want the public to know they are ready for the time when the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines arrive for teachers and school staff.

There had been expectations by some that the Moderna vaccines could begin to arrive within just days, but clarification soon came that delivery will be several weeks ahead.

Since mid-December there’s been a push to make sure teachers and staff get early access to those shots. That’s based largely on their exposure to so many people every day ranging from students, parents, fellow staff members and the general public.

Both Bossier and Caddo School Districts started a sign-up page for employees who want the vaccine whenever it does become available. Bossier Schools Superintendent Mitch Downey gave a window of time they are expecting the arrival.

“The next couple weeks is what we understand at this time. I don’t think there’s been a specific date that’s been targeted. We’ve been working to make sure we have all our homework done so that we’ll be ready whenever that date is,” said Downey.

Many school district employees have already signed-up on those vaccination lists. Caddo Schools Superintendent Dr. Lamar Goree says they’re seeing a lot of interest in the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Thirty percent of about 5,000 employees. So, you’re looking at about 1,500 people who have already expressed interest. But I will tell you, I anticipate on that last day there will be more people that will express interest,” began Dr. Goree.

“And again, really excited about this opportunity because it does give us an opportunity to have just one more safeguard.”

Dr. Goree says that the big unknown at this moment, at least for them, is just how many Moderna vaccine doses they can expect to be delivered.

Meanwhile, during a Zoom interview with KSLA this Wednesday, Jan. 6, Downey said that of their 3,300 employees at least 2,500, or 75 percent, have already responded to their internal survey.

He says half of those who responded want the vaccination whenever it gets here and officials emphasize it will only be voluntary.

Jordan Thomas, with the Red River United Teachers Union, says hearing the vaccines will get to the Shreveport-Bossier area in a matter weeks is welcome news to them and their 3,300 members in the Caddo, Bossier and Red River School Districts.

“We know the value in keeping school houses open. We know the value that it brings to our community. And we have, you know, so many of our school employees who are just, they’re worried,” said Thomas.

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