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CHCCS Vaccination Campaign Reaches Hundreds of Staff

In the February 26 “Community Update” sent to CHCCS staff and families, Superintendent Dr. Nyah Hamlett announced, “I am pleased to report that our community partners have stepped up in a major way. This afternoon, our own Smith Middle School served as a point of distribution for over 250 first dose Moderna vaccines supplied by our friends at Alignment Healthcare. Thank you to the parents and students who provided signs and celebratory supportive messages that were waiting for staff today. We will continue working to make sure that every staff member who wants to be vaccinated will have that opportunity.”

On March 3, both Piedmont Health and Alignment Healthcare provided another round of doses, with a final Piedmont Health clinic held on March 5. Nearly 800 CHCCS employees received their first doses of Moderna vaccines during the one-week period. 

Kirtisha gets vaxxed The success of the campaign has been a result of the enthusiastic collaboration among many people in the district and community. Lead for School Health Nurses and Homebound Services, Tracy Sanders, and Senior Executive Director of Student Services, Dr. Charlos Banks, mobilized with others to secure the doses of Moderna, line up the sites for the vaccination clinics and schedule the team of school nurses to deliver the shots. Julie Vogel at Northside Elementary School said, “We School Nurses were very proud to put our skills to use vaccinating our staff.” 

The list of staff who assisted in one or more of the clinics includes people from many departments: Facilities and Maintenance employees set up tables at the sites and brought in water and HEPA filters, Transportation staff directed parking and traffic management at the sites, and numerous staff from schools and Central Office volunteered as runners and general helpers.

Sanders said, “I have been blown away by the response to the vaccine clinics. The energy in the rooms was positive, encouraging, and grateful.  As CHCCS School Health Nurses, we were truly honored to be able to step up and serve our faculty and staff in this way.” 

Surveys were mailed out to all CHCCS staff in February, asking about interest in receiving COVID vaccines. Every employee who indicated a preference for a vaccine was invited to participate in one of the clinics supported by Alignment Healthcare and Piedmont Health.

The second doses of Moderna will be provided in two upcoming clinics on March 26 and April 9. 

Jeff gets vax Sanders said, “We had volunteers from across the district that gave their time on multiple occasions, like School Counselor, Bill Rathbun, from Glenwood Elementary, who literally said, ‘I will help in any way I can.’ He then spent the next few hours on his feet assisting nurses with whatever they needed in order to get people vaccinated quickly. So many people working together to make this happen shows our great teamwork.  We truly are in this together." 

Rathbun had his own praise to share. “Tracy Sanders and all the nurses are amazing! I have been fortunate to work directly with the nurses - escorting the next staff member to their station and keeping them supplied with vaccines.” 

“One great example of how wonderful our nurses are was when I witnessed one nurse jump in to support another nurse with a very anxious staff member who clearly did not like receiving shots! They were so calm and reassuring and the person left with a smile and words of gratitude,” Rathbun said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my volunteer time with the vaccination clinics. It has been a very rewarding experience to be working with other CHCCS staff in support of our colleagues, as well as other frontline workers in the community.”

Dr. Banks said, “I was elated that we were able to provide this opportunity to our staff as another layer of safety in preparing for the return to in-person learning. Many staff expressed gratitude to our school district for creating easier access to the vaccine, thus reducing the spread of the virus.

“Thank you to everyone involved in making this a reality,” Dr. Hamlett said. “It truly is a together work.”

To ALL staff scheduled for your second doses on March 26 or April 9, please don’t forget how important it is to receive BOTH vaccinations, in order to build full immunity to COVID-19.