Iowa is moving into the next phase of distributing COVID vaccines in the next few weeks which includes teachers. With a very limited number of vaccines, the first vaccines will go to teachers with underlying health conditions or those who are most exposed to the virus first like teachers physically working in classrooms, and this process may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. According to the Iowa City Community School District on their website, ”…sent out a form Tuesday asking staff about their intention to receive the vaccine. By about 4 p.m., more than 1,000 people had already replied.” Teachers are anxious and excited about having the opportunity to take this vaccine.
Where teachers will be obtaining the vaccine is another problem, and is still being sorted out. Most likely, it will be distributed at the local hospital. Additionally, if the majority of teachers and staff are vaccinated there could be a problem with absences due to the flu-like symptoms of the vaccine causing a majority of teachers to stay home.
Recently, the President of Dowling Catholic High School in Des Moines, Iowa, Dan Ryan, announced their plan of action with the distribution of the vaccines. On Friday, February 5th the school had the ability to vaccinate any and all staff members wanting a vaccine. The school announced an early out for the students in order for faculty to receive a vaccine. This private school has become a frustrating subject, because of it schooling the son of the UnityPoint CEO, and recently UnityPoint said they were unable to vaccinate all teachers and staff in a document sent to families and staff of the school, but this private school is able to do so and looks like it is being given special treatment, and not many public schools are able to gain the vaccines for their staff.
In a letter to Governor Reynolds, Director Garcia of the Iowa Department of Public Health, and Director Lebo of the Iowa Department of Education, said that in order to hit the deadline, on February 15th of 100% in-person learning the 64,000 doses we were originally given for our state is distributed statewide, and will be a priority to go to the 6,365 educational employees of this state. So that it will be possible to do fully in-person education, these need and will be distributed in the next week, or so.