How 3 districts are vaccinating eligible high school students

"If somebody wants the vaccine, we want to make that as easy as possible," Texas administrator says
By: | April 21, 2021

A surplus of COVID vaccines in East Texas allowed Longview ISD this week to swiftly offer shots to willing high school students 16 and older.

The district held vaccination clinics at Longview High School Tuesday and Wednesday, and required students who want the vaccine to bring a parent, Assistant Superintendent Dennis Williams tells District Administration. 

“There are some people who want the vaccine and some people that don’t, and that’s their choice,” Williams says. “If somebody wants the vaccine, whether it’s a staff member or a student, we want to make that as easy as possible.”

The district used its website and social media channels to notify families of the vaccination clinics. Parents had to show up in person with the children, as the district did not accept written permission slips or phone authorizations, Williams said.

As for vaccine hesitancy, Williams recalls that in October, many in the district were initially reluctant to get rapid COVID tests. After only a few weeks, however, most in the district were willing to take the tests.

He expects the same may happen with the COVID vaccines, even as the district works with local health providers to become a community vaccination site.

A growing number of districts are taking similar steps. Lake County Schools in Florida began offering the vaccines to eligible teens in early April, meaning many will soon get their second doses, district Communications Officer Sherri Owens said.

The district spread the word by social media pages, on its website and via email.

Lake County administrators have not yet determined how they will proceed when vaccines are authorized for students young than 16, she says.

Bristol Virginia Public Schools vaccinated 15% of its eligible students at a clinic on April 19, Superintendent Keith Perrigan said.

The district used its Facebook page to notify students.