The state's largest school district will begin a mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign for teachers and staff less than a week before the first round of K-5 students return to campuses.
Shelby County Schools expects to vaccinate about 6,000 employees over three days starting Wednesday. The district will use two locations situated near each other in Midtown Memphis: the Shelby County Board of Education building and the Teaching and Learning Academy.
In a January survey, about 4,700 SCS employees said they wanted a shot. An additional 1,100 contract school and charter employees in the district also indicated their interest. These respondents were allowed to claim their spots in line first. About 14,000 people work for the district, not including charter school staff.
A spokesperson noted that some who responded to the survey may have already been vaccinated outside the county. Educators can also sign up for a shot through the health department.
The district is not requiring vaccinations.
The school operation came earlier than expected as health officials previously predicted supply would still be too limited to open it up for teachers until next month.
Some were lucky enough to get an even further head start during last week’s winter storms, when more than 600 SCS staffers were offered doses that were on the verge of expiring. Teachers from municipal school districts also received hundreds of last-minute shots.
The Arlington, Lakeland and Millington school districts are joining forces to vaccinate their staff together at Arlington High School on Friday with 800 doses between them. The same day, Bartlett is expected to inoculate 650 at Bartlett High School.
On March 5, the Germantown and Collierville school districts will use the Germantown Baptist Church for their campaign. They expect to dole out between 1,200 and 1,400 doses.
Several school districts indicated during a planning session on Monday that they would aim to distribute second doses over their respective spring breaks. SCS’s vacation is March 29-April 2.