Teachers in Prince George’s County, Maryland, are set to start getting COVID-19 vaccine appointments this weekend, part of a big push to get school employees vaccinated before students return to classrooms this spring, the school system announced.
Prince George’s County Public Schools is working with the county health department and Kaiser Permanente to provide vaccinations for teachers and other school staff members, according to a news release Thursday.
The appointments start this weekend and are expected to run for six to eight weeks.
“From the beginning of the pandemic, the safety of our students and staff has been my top priority as we navigate these unprecedented times,” schools CEO Monica Goldson said in a statement. “With the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine, I am encouraging all Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) employees to get vaccinated for their own safety and that of the children and families we serve.”
To start, the vaccine appointments this weekend are being offered to central office and school-based employees, including teachers.
The school system is sending individual registration links directly to school employees to make appointments and are telling staff members not to share their registration link with anyone else.
Staff members will need to use their school system email to register for their appointments and also need to bring a work ID card or another form of employment verification, such as a printed pay stub or a supervisor’s memo to their appointment.
The appointments will take place at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex in Landover, starting Jan. 30 and Jan. 31, and then Saturdays and Sundays after that. The appointments will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Next week, the school system will open appointments to support staff, including employees in building services, food and nutrition services, transportation and IT staff. Those appointments start Feb. 3 and will take place at the Kaiser Permanente Lanham Rehabilitation Center at 4400 Forbes Blvd. in Lanham. Support staff appointments will run Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
School employees will receive paid leave for the following day after their vaccine appointment — or the Monday after their vaccine appointment for people vaccinated on weekends. Teachers are instructed to provide either recorded lessons or independent work for their students that day.
“We are encouraging all employees to get vaccinated for their safety as well as their family’s safety,” schools spokeswoman Gabrielle Chew said in an email to WTOP. “In an effort to allow for a recuperation period, some classes may be asynchronous, rather than live, to accommodate employees who recently received a vaccination. We want to make this as seamless as possible.”
Teachers and child care employees are included in Maryland’s Phase 1b vaccine rollout plan. However, given the extremely limited supply of the vaccine doses, there has been a slow rollout to educators as health officials focus on getting vaccine doses to those age 75 and older.
In neighboring Montgomery County, teachers are beginning to receive vaccine doses this week by Johns Hopkins and Suburban Hospital. Overall, there are 8,775 doses of the vaccine, but the doses will be shared by public school employees and regular hospital patients who are older than 65.
School employees eligible for the vaccine doses are being identified by Montgomery County Public Schools and referred to the hospital for scheduling.
Elsewhere in the D.C. region, a mass vaccination of teachers in Prince William County, Virginia, is planned for this weekend. In Fairfax County, several thousand teachers are getting vaccine appointments this week after earlier appointments were canceled due to a shortage of vaccine doses.
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