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D-428 OKs agreement to distribute vaccine to employees

The DeKalb School District 428 board voted on Tuesday to enter into an agreement with the DeKalb County Health Department to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to employees and their families.

Interim Superintendent Ray Lechner said the vaccine could come to the district as early as February.

The board voted, 6-0, to approve the vaccine.

Cindy Graves, director of emergency preparedness for the county, said it’s what considered a closed pod, only for employees of the district and their families. She said the county has such agreements with other employers in the county, such as 3M.

She said the benefit is that by having large employers in the county distribute the vaccine, it eases the burden when the vaccine becomes widely available.

She also said that educators were among the early tier of people to receive the vaccine. The county would be there to administer the shots with the help of district nurses.

Graves said pre-pandemic, closed pods are generally for the distribution of pills. The idea is being modified for the vaccine, which is distributed by a shot.

“The idea of this is the closed pod can service the school district, the staff and their families,” Graves said. “The primary purpose of a closed pod is to decompress an oped pod. An oped pod is opened up to the public. The idea is the more of these closed you can have, the more it decompresses when you open up the open pod.”

Graves said that when the county offered testing at the high school and other sites around the county, it was a dry run for a closed pod.

“We wanted to try them on in the event of vaccination,” Graves said. “DeKalb obviously is a very good site for that also.”

Graves said the district would have to be tiered in the event not enough doses of the vaccine are available initially. She said the tiers would be done in consultation with the district, but likely staff as one of the first layers of the pod.

“Then after we work with you on that to open it up to other school districts in the north part of the county and in the southern area also,” Graves said.

Board member Jeromy Olson said he couldn’t think of a negative and asked if there was a downside, to which Graves said no.

“It’s a draw to an organization to become a pod,” Graves said.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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