District expects vaccines to reduce need for quarantines
Marietta City Schools’ message is that COVID vaccines are another layer of protection to add to masks and handwashing, says Jen Brock, the Atlanta-area district’s executive director of communications.
The district gave about 240 of its 1,000 16- to 18-year-old students their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in mid-April, and vaccinated several hundred more of their family members.
“We, as a school district, know that the more people in the community who are vaccinated, the safer our community is,” Brock says. “If a majority of our community is vaccinated, it reduces the transmissions and the quarantines.”
Once fully vaccinated, neither teachers nor students would have to quarantine, which has been a major challenge this school year. “We see the potential for that to be less of a burden, less of a disruption,” Brock says. “Vaccines limit the chance of losing kids and staff to quarantine.”
The district has offered in-person instruction to its youngest students since September and invited older students back in stages throughout the fall. Administrators expect most students will return in-person for the 2021-22 school year but will continue to offer virtual instruction, Brock says.
The district has also vaccinated staff and eligible members of their households.
“It was never our intent to get every single person vaccinated,” Brock says. “It was really who was interested, and if you’re interested, we were going to make it as safe and as convenient as possible.”