SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Caddo Schools Superintendent Dr. Lamar Goree says a little over half of the district’s nearly 5,500 employees have expressed interest in receiving the coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available.
District teachers and staff were given an opportunity to sign up for the shots earlier this month.
“We’ve captured those names of those people that are interested in being in that first round of vaccines. Probably right at a little over 50 percent of our employees are interested.”
According to the latest data reported to the Louisiana Department of Health, there were 45 new cases among faculty, staff, and volunteers in Caddo Schools between Jan. 4 -10, along with 72 new student cases among the 66 schools enrolled in the reporting system.
The data is updated weekly, and new numbers reflecting cases reported last week are expected to be released by the LDH on Wednesday.
Booker T. Washington High School on Tuesday announced a temporary return to virtual learning for the remainder of the week due to a high absentee rate among teachers and students.
“As we protect and look at the health as well as the academic well-being of our system, we do look daily at our numbers and we analyze those numbers to determine what is the best situation for a school,” said Goree.
The largest district in Northwest Louisiana, Caddo schools have reported a total of 226 faculty and staff cases and 496 student cases since the state started collecting the data in October under an emergency order requiring schools to report known and suspected cases as part of an “early warning system” under an emergency order issued by State Health Officer Jimmy Guidry.
Currently, the vaccine is only available to those who qualify under the first two phases of vaccine distribution in Louisiana, Phase 1A and Phase 1B, Tier 1. Those include hospital workers, nursing home residents and staff, and EMS and fire personnel, as well as dialysis patients and clinic staff, outpatient care personnel, and those 70 and older. The next phase of distribution (Phase 1B, Tier 2) will include teachers, grocery store workers, and other essential workers that keep the state functioning.
A date for Phase 1B, Tier 2 has not yet been announced. Dr. Goree said the choice to receive the vaccine is optional and they have already developed a schedule for those employees who have signed up.
The LDH says the vaccine is likely to become more widely available for the general population in late spring/summer 2021.