Barrow County School System employs about 1,900 teachers and staff, including contract substitutes and custodians. Working with the Northeast Georgia Health District, we have developed a vaccine distribution plan so we will be able to respond quickly when it is available.
All staff are being given the option to pre-register for the vaccine between February 5 and 11. This information will be collected for planning purposes and to expedite the required DPH paperwork. (Note that some employees may have secured a vaccine themselves, outside of BCSS coordination.)
Our vaccine distribution plan will depend on the number of vaccines available to school staff in Barrow County. Ideally, enough vaccine will be available at one time that will allow us to offer it to every pre-registered school staff member in Barrow County School System. However, we have developed a contingency plan to prepare for various situations.
Based on the refrigeration requirements of the vaccine, BCSS plans to coordinate the distribution on one day at two to four vaccination sites. When staff are notified of their turn to receive the vaccine, they will be directed to a specific location and appointment time.
Impact on Students and Families
To provide continuity of learning to our students, BCSS may conduct an online learning day when vaccines are distributed for the first dose. Much like a snow day, we may have little advanced notice of when the vaccines are available. We will alert families as soon as possible if arrangements need to be made for their children.
Currently, the two approved vaccines require a second dose. Therefore, we may schedule two or three digital learning days for BCSS students about a month after the first one. One day will be used for staff to receive the shot, and subsequent days will account for staff who may not feel well. If possible, we will schedule vaccine distribution towards the end of the school week to reduce the number of digital learning days. Information will be provided to families once digital days are scheduled.
While the Barrow County School System is doing its best to plan proactively, we are dependent on the timeline and process of the Northeast Georgia Health District regarding the vaccine. Approval of a third vaccine may also change these plans. We will work to keep staff and families informed as we get additional details.
Ultimately, we are thankful for the vaccine's availability and for the teachers and staff who are electing to receive it. Vaccinated staff will help ensure our school buildings will remain open and students will keep learning.
COVID-19 Adolescent Study
Tekton Research is looking for adolescents (12 – 17) to participate in COVID Vaccine Studies. If your family is interested, please visit their website for more information.
To be clear, vaccine mandates are the role of the state legislature, not local school systems.