Lee County schools working with DOH to manage teacher vaccination schedules

Reactions to the second COVID-19 shot have many employers worried that several people will have to stay home from work at the same time, and that’s why special accommodations must be made for teachers in the classrooms.

The school districts of Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties have all said they are staggering their staffs’ vaccine appointments, this way too many people are not out for an appointment or staying home with side effects simultaneously.

In Lee County, for example, they worked with the Florida Department of Health to schedule all their staff on Fridays, so anyone who feels heavy side effects does not have to miss out on work the next day. They also do it by different grade levels and departments, so there is not too much strain on the schools.

Angela Pruitt, chief human resource officer for the Lee County School District, says staffing was a major issue at the start of the pandemic because of students and teachers getting sick and needing to quarantine. But over the past few months, they’ve seen fewer people calling out, and they want to keep it that way with the vaccination efforts.

“We strategically made sure that our bus driver appointments were in the middle of the day, which is between their driving runs, and then we made sure that our high school folks were given those appointments like 2:30 [p.m.], 3:30 [p.m.],” Pruitt said. “If you have too many bus drivers out, or too many teachers out, right, that’s a huge impact, because we need to get kids to school and when then we need people to teach them.”

It isn’t just the school districts that stagger staff this way; health care employees and those of other big companies do the same thing.

Dr. Joseph pepe “Yeah, I think this has been the model all along,” said Dr. Joseph Pepe, administrator for the FDOH-Charlotte. “You know, when we look at our first responders and folks like that, we certainly don’t want everybody to run the risk of having an adverse reaction or feeling slightly ill after that first or second shot. We’ve also worked with other larger organizations and employers, even… farmworkers have even gone so far as staggering their staff.”

Lee Schools said there’s also less demand for the vaccine now, which means almost everyone who wanted it has gotten it.

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Joey Pellegrino
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