EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — As essential workers, teachers in Illinois are able to get their COVID-19 vaccine shots. But there seems to be quite a bit of disparity regarding which districts can provide those shots.
East St. Louis School District 189 is leading the way when it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine to staff members. Superintendent Art Culver said Thursday about 65% of his staff have opted to get vaccinated.
“So far we’ve had about 500 people vaccinated,” said Culver, at a vaccination event at East St. Louis High School, Thursday. “We have about 550 scheduled.”
Alonzo Nelson is director of student services.
“We want to make sure our students and our staff stay safe,” said Nelson, arriving to get the vaccine shot. “We’re looking at bringing our kids back, so it’s important we have our staff members vaccinated.”
Darla Wall is an assistant principal at Annette Officer Elementary School.
“The school and district are doing what they can toward getting to a more normalized situation,” said Wall.
The vaccination event was organized in conjunction with the East Side Health District and administrator Elizabeth Patton-Whiteside. Patton-Whiteside was asked where she was getting the vaccine.
“I’m getting it from the Illinois Department of Public Health,” she said.
Monroe and Randolph Counties Regional School Superintendent Kelton Davis quickly organized a vaccination event for his staff members at Monroe County Fairgrounds on Thursday. Davis says Randolph County has received significantly more vaccine than Monroe County, apparently because hospitals are located there.
“The frustrating part is somewhere, where the powers may be, they are not being flexible or nimble to what the needs of the individual counties are,” said Davis.
East St. Louis students are remote, right now, but students are scheduled to begin returning to their schools next month.
Patton-Whiteside says she could not hold her clinics without the help of the Illinois National Guard, because they provide nurses to assist her staff.