SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Savannah-Chatham County Public School Board met for the first time since their students returned to the classroom this calendar year. It was also their first meeting since the governor expanded vaccine criteria to include school staff.
They are excited to see this happen and making plans.
“We have our initial clinic set up for March 9,” said Dr. Ann Levett, SCCPSS Superintendent. “The information will be shared with our staff probably tomorrow morning and they will have the opportunity to register so we’re excited to be able to offer those services to our staff.”
District leaders say they already had vaccine events for more than 500 employees who qualified for the vaccine in phase 1a plus and learned a lot. They plan to use community partners and hold clinics not during school hours.
“Our goal is to provide enough vaccination opportunities for staff so that we can get all of those who are interested vaccinated before spring break,” said Dr. Levett. “That’s our goal.”
Superintendent Levett says their timeline and efforts will hinge on the vaccine supply available. While they work out details for vaccinations, teachers and students are engaging in their hybrid 3-2 model. Staff say so far it is going well with proper safety protocols, but there are challenges like dual teaching and internet concerns.
“With the sudden increase what has happened is that they have maxed out the capabilities of the existing hardware that’s in place and what we have done is we’ve borrowed other equipment from vendors in order to offset some of that load,” explained David Feliciano, SCCPSS Chief Data and Accountability Officer. “So right now the system should be functioning better while we work through the process that requires permanent replacement of equipment in the next month of two.”
While they were glad to hear the hybrid model is working, some board members did question how individual schools could increase their in-person learning days. District officials say that will happen on a case-by-case scenario pending safety protocol and operational feasibility.
“What that means is we take a look at how many students the school is currently serving,” Dr. Levett detailed. “How many of those students might be moved around to make sure that we can, make sure that we are following the social distancing guidelines and they would make the request of the associate superintendent who would take a look at the capacity and make a determination about whether they can move to five days or not.”
A district official says at this point no school has officially made a request so there are no plans to move from the 3-2 model for now.
As for the vaccine clinic planned for next week they expect to have 500 appointments and believe they will go fast so are planning for other events to follow.