Story provided by Stillwater Public Schools
Stillwater Public Schools hosted a vaccine clinic for teachers and staff on Saturday, February 20. 378 vaccines were administered to SPS employees and family members of staff that qualified under Oklahoma’s vaccine priority framework.
“Vaccinations for our teachers and staff will add an additional layer of protection for our SPS community and assist in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our schools,” said Superintendent Marc Moore. “This benefit to our staff would not have been possible without the collaborative effort of Passport Health, the Payne County Health Department, and the SPS Human Resources and Communications Departments. SPS Director of Human Resources Bo Gamble spent numerous hours spearheading this project and, ultimately, making it a reality,” said Moore.
In addition to SPS providing a space for the clinic, Gamble coordinated with the PCHD regarding vaccine availability and eligibility and with Passport Health to secure vaccine doses and supply healthcare professionals to administer vaccines. Additional SPS staff volunteered to conduct temperature checks, handle registration, and monitor vaccine recipients for any adverse reactions.
“Originally this clinic was just aimed at serving staff over 65 and those with direct healthcare responsibilities,” Gamble said. “We were ecstatic when the health department gave us authorization to administer doses to all teachers and staff at Saturday’s clinic. It meant a quick sign up process, but it was definitely a welcome turn of events. SPS was able to get a large number of our staff vaccinated before most districts in the state.”
In addition to hosting clinics for its staff, the district has also been texting alerts to staff when extra doses are available at local clinics.
“We want to ensure that any staff member that wants to be vaccinated, can do so in a timely manner,” said Gamble. “And want to provide them with as many avenues to do that as possible.”
COVID-19 vaccination will not be required for employees, however the district is strongly encouraging it, and teachers and staff have been very receptive to signing up.
SPS Secondary RN David Coates, who worked to administer vaccines last weekend was happy to participate. “It was gratifying and humbling to participate in the vaccination of so many Stillwater Public School employees,” he said. “The emotional relief on their faces was palpable.”
Realizing that many struggle to find available appointments through the state’s vaccination portal, SPS is doing what it can to make the process as convenient as possible for employees. Participants in Saturday’s clinic are already scheduled for their second doses on March 12.
The district has several more clinics planned in the coming weeks to ensure that employees have access to the vaccine. The district’s next clinic will be Saturday, February 27 at Stillwater High School.