Lake County Schools, in partnership with the Florida Department of Health in Lake County and the Lake County Board of County Commissioners, is offering free COVID-19 vaccinations to district employees age 65 and older, all school and district nurses, and any Unlicensed Assistive Personnel (UAPs), the medication-trained employees who cover school clinics when nurses are not available.
The first dose of the Pfizer vaccine will be distributed to about 800 eligible employees on Tuesday, Jan. 19, at the Tavares High School gymnasium between 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Employees have been assigned arrival times based on an alphabetical listing of their last names.
“Protecting our healthcare workers and those employees who may be most vulnerable to COVID because of their age was a priority for us,” says Superintendent Diane Kornegay. “We are extremely grateful to our partners for making this happen so quickly and we look forward to working with them in the future to expand distribution to more of our employees.”
People age 65 and older are already eligible to receive the vaccine throughout Florida, but providing access on a school campus makes it more convenient for district employees who are often working during the hours the vaccine is offered elsewhere.
The vaccine is free and voluntary to eligible employees, who are asked to bring their driver’s license and work ID. Distribution details for the second dose of the vaccine will be announced at a later date.
The Lake County School Board is also advocating for all teachers and frontline school employees to be prioritized in the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan. The board at its meeting Monday night agreed to send a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis explaining that because many students are returning to campuses for face-to-face learning for the second semester, the district needs to have as many of its staff members on campus as possible.
“Placing them among the priority groups for vaccination should reduce the number of employees required to take leave because of COVID-19 illness or exposure,” the letter reads. “Let’s show them how much they are valued by officially identifying them as ‘essential employees’ and doing everything we can to protect them as soon as possible so they are equipped to continue the important work that they perform with our children every day.”