Gwinnett school employees to start getting COVID-19 vaccines next week

A sign requiring visitors to wear a face mask is displayed on the decorative front door to the Mill Creek High School clinic in Hoschton, Feb. 19, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

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A sign requiring visitors to wear a face mask is displayed on the decorative front door to the Mill Creek High School clinic in Hoschton, Feb. 19, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Gwinnett County Public Schools employees will start getting COVID-19 vaccinations next week, according to a district spokeswoman.

The vaccines will be administered by the Gwinnett, Newton & Rockdale County Health Department starting Monday, the first day school employees are eligible under the state’s vaccination rollout plan.

An email will go out Wednesday afternoon to the first group of employees who will receive injections with the dates and times of their appointments, said Sloan Roach, the school district’s spokeswoman.

More than 13,000 employees, about 52% of the school district’s total, said in a survey that they wanted to be vaccinated through the health department. The survey included full-time and part-time employees and active substitutes.

About 7,500 of those who said they wanted vaccines from the health department were teachers, counselors, media specialists and local school technology coordinators. That’s 61% of the employees holding those positions in Gwinnett schools.

The school district will provide six nurses and six intake workers every day at the health department’s mass vaccination site, the old Sears at the Gwinnett Place Mall.

“They will assist with the vaccination process for our employees but also the greater community,” Roach said.

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As of March 1, the school district reported more than 4,400 known cases of COVID-19 among employees and students since August.

The health department was already vaccinating school district employees who were eligible due to their ages or job descriptions.

The department will give 600 doses a day to Gwinnett school employees for at least two weeks starting Monday, Roach said in an email. First priority will go to teachers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers and cafeteria workers because they’re in contact with the most students daily and in situations when social distancing might not be possible, Roach said.

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Appointments will run from 9 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., spaced out so fewer than 10 teachers will leave each campus every day to get the vaccine, except at six large high schools where more will be allowed to leave, Roach said.

“This will help to ensure that schools are able to cover for staff members who are out during the day,” she said.

Some employees, including bus drivers and cafeteria staff, will be scheduled on Saturdays.

After the first two weeks, the health department will keep scheduling school employees based on vaccine availability, Roach said.