Russell County, Ala. (WRBL)– Teachers and faculty in the Russell County School District will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine if they choose to. Officials are making the vaccine optional for faculty and staff rather than requiring it.
Russell County School District officials say they have been in close contact with the Alabama Department of Public Health about the vaccine. Officials say they are aware that first responders and the elderly are able to receive the vaccine first. Meanwhile, teachers and faculty members will be in the second phase for receiving the vaccine.
Employees at the school district were given surveys to see if they would be interested in receiving the vaccine. The district is not recommending its employees to take the vaccine because they realize it is a personal decision.
Right now, Russell County Schools are at a moderate risk phase for the virus. The district is hoping with their moderate risk and if enough employees receive the vaccine, things will be able to go back to normal. Director of Administrative Services Tammy Barnes says teachers are on the front lines.
“Well they’re definitely on the front lines as far as the public in general. Everyone who may have COVID comes into the classroom at some point in time because of exposure to parents, parents going out to jobs, and being in the community,” Barnes said.
Barnes feels that those who are working on the front line around individuals who are COVID positive deserve to receive the vaccine first. After those on the front line and the elderly receive the vaccine, then those working in education will be next in line.
The school district has made sure individuals who tested positive were properly quarantined to limit the spread of the virus. With those individuals, nurses were able to contact trace and COVID-19 numbers have managed to stay down within the schools. Barnes says it’s comforting to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
“It’s comforting to know that at some point in the future we have that light at the end of the tunnel where we can get back to normal, its been very abnormal for us in education. I believe it will have an impact on student achievement this year and I students deserve some normalcy and so do our teachers, I think our whole nation does,” Barnes said.