The COVID-19 vaccination process for teachers and other staff employed by Fairfax County Public Schools is back underway after thousands of employees had their initial-dose appointments canceled this week when supplies ran out.
The emails to sign up again went out late Wednesday night after the Fairfax County Health Department was alerted to a new batch of doses obtained by Inova Health. The county’s health department is coordinating with Inova to vaccinate school system employees.
“Many, many thousands of staff will be getting their vaccines Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” said Lucy Caldwell, a spokeswoman for Fairfax County Public Schools.
It’s not clear exactly how many people were impacted by the sudden shortage this week, but so far, about 22,000 people have signed up for vaccinations and about 7,000 school system employees have gotten their first doses of the vaccine.
“What we’re trying to do of course is prioritize staff who would be needed to return to schools and in centers in-person first,” said Caldwell.
She said the county is aware that not everyone who had their appointments canceled this week has received a new link from the county health department to sign up again, and efforts to fix that are underway.
On Feb. 2, schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand is set to update the school board on plans to reopen schools and get students back in the classroom on a wider scale. Right now, the goal is for that to happen beginning Feb. 16.
“We’re hoping — and very optimistic — that we will have as many staff vaccinated when those plans take place,” Caldwell said.
Even if not everyone is fully vaccinated, the return to class is on track to move forward and that’s not sitting well with one of the county’s teachers’ unions.
In a statement emailed to WTOP, Tiffany Finck-Haynes said the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers is “urging Fairfax County Public Schools to alter the return to school timeline” because of both the current health metrics around the county and the disruption to the vaccine distribution.
The FCFT is reiterating its call for the county to adopt its reopening plan instead, focusing in particular on the current positivity rate in the county.
The union said kids should not return to the classroom until the positivity rate falls below 5% — it currently sits at 11.6% — which the union says is above the threshold the county set for itself.
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