NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Metro Nashville Public School leaders have a plan to get educators the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as supplies become available.
“If we have a supply of vaccines, our public health community would be ready tomorrow to be able to administer those,” MNPS Chief of Staff Hank Clay told board members at Tuesday’s meeting.
Director of Schools Dr. Adrienne Battle said teachers will not be receiving COVID-19 vaccines until late February or early March due to the shortage of supply. Right now Davidson County is in Phase 1a2 and teachers are in Phase 1b.
The district has requested to get direct allocations of the COVID-19 vaccine from the state.
“So far, the surest — slow but sure — method of getting vaccines is to receive it through the statewide allocations,” Clay said. “We are pursuing every avenue available, though, and working with the Tennessee Department of Health to explore whether we might be able to receive a direct allocation to school systems. Because of Metro Nashville Public Schools’ very sophisticated partnership with Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt we are uniquely situated in the state to be able to take advantage of those opportunities.”
He said the district already has a plan for distribution that it’s been working on since vaccines were first announced last Fall, but it depends on which vaccine Nashville gets.
“The most likely scenario is that we receive the Pfizer vaccine. For the Pfizer vaccine, you have to maintain the cold chain and so in that case we’d probably have two sites depending on the number of vaccines that receive in the community,” Clay said.
He added the district would likely have one site at Vanderbilt Health 100 Oaks and one site at Meharry Medical College because they could maintain the cold chain and provide convenience for recipients.
“If the Nashville community receives Moderna for our school-based educators and staff then that has less of an issue and we could offer it in more sites, perhaps even drive-thru so we’ve got plans for both,” Clay explained.
The district’s vaccine prioritization would follow the same plan for in-person learning by targeting exceptional education and elementary educators first.
“We’re strongly encouraging all that are able to receive the vaccine to get the vaccine, that it helps to make not only those that take the vaccine safer, but the community at large,” Clay said. “So, we’re not requiring it but we’re highly encouraging people take advantage of it.”
District leaders said vaccination plans will evolve as they get more information.