School districts across North Texas are taking steps to offer vaccines to their students. Children, age 12 and older, are set to become eligible for the vaccine soon. Some districts are already putting plans in place to help families of students who are interested in the shot.
A partnership earlier this year between Arlington ISD and Arlington Fire to vaccinate teachers and staff went so well, the district is looking at a similar approach for students. The district has even set a possible date of May 17 for students over 16 who want to be vaccinated.
“We’re surveying interested parents,” said Anita Foster, the Communications Director for Arlington ISD.
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Dallas ISD is also weighing its options.
“Right now we’re concentrating on the 16 and older group,” said Jennifer Finley, the Health Services Director for Dallas ISD. “I know the announcement was 12 – 15 group but right now the focus is on 16 and up.”
Dallas ISD’ Health Service Director said their partnership with the county will have them bus students, 16 and older, from campus to one of the mass vaccine sites at Parkland Hospital and Fair Park.
The district said it's sending out permission slips now and hoping to get the process started as soon as next week. That way, students can come back for their second shot in three weeks just before school ends for the year.
But this will only be on campuses where the principal approves it.
“It is an aggressive timeline, I’ll give you that, but since we had a delayed start we go a little longer than most districts so we’re right up against the wire for the timeline,” said Finley.
Other districts are in the process of planning similar moves. Garland ISD has been partnering with community groups to vaccinate anyone over 16 and say they will do the same.
Keller ISD is still talking about a plan, Coppell ISD, Frisco ISD and Irving ISD all said they have no plans to offer a clinic right now.
Vaccination clinics are going to vary district by district, with some schools realizing the need for them to get involved is greater for some students. Dallas ISD said just because they can’t get to all kids now doesn’t mean they can’t get the vaccine in the future.
“We will be planning and working on additional opportunities. If they’re hesitant and they need more research we will be planning more opportunities,” said Finley.
Some students may prefer to have a parent with them at the time, but not all districts are allowing that, so check with your district.