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Fighting the Pandemic--Administration Creates Student Covid Vaccination Clinic

Administrators post informational flyers about the Covid vaccination center. (Courtesy Photo)

By Hayley Rea--Eagle Assistant Editor

In light of the recent approvals for teenagers to receive the Covid vaccine, administrators on campus collaborated with the Virginia Department of Health to set up a free vaccination center for students.

“[The dates are] May 13th for the first dose and June 3rd for the 2nd dose,” Jon Crutchfield, principal, explained. “Students who [chose] to receive the vaccine [selected] a time slot during the school day. The vaccination center [was] in the Central Gym.”

In order to determine interest in receiving the vaccine, a student survey was sent out last week. From the results of that survey, 236 students registered for the vaccination center.

“We [scheduled] 80 students per hour. The clinic [ran] from 9 to 12:30,” Jason Guilliams, director of operations, commented.

A lot of voices went into making the decision to set up the clinic on campus.

“I requested a vaccination center for our students who may want the vaccine. It was then approved by our superintendent and Central Office, and the Virginia Department of Health. The vaccination center [was] a combined Carilion/VDH center,” Crutchfield replied.

In order to provide maximum efficiency for those receiving the vaccine, there was much discussion about the best setup for the center.

“Mr. Guilliams, our head of building and grounds and transportation for the school division, contacted the Department of Health and they worked closely together to determine the best places to have one entrance and one exit, and also to have some form of a flow,” Andrew Nester, building administrator, explained. “[This] is why Central Gym worked the best, because we were able to get students to come in and weave around. Once you did the preregistration... you went to your tables and got your shot, and then you went to the bleachers. That was the best flow, that way we didn’t have a bunch of students crossing paths.”

There were high hopes surrounding the clinic and the amount of participants.

“We certainly [hoped] it [would] allow families who [wished] to get the vaccine an opportunity to do so,” Guilliams said.

Student receives first dose of the Pfizer vaccine from a volunteer at the vaccination center. (Courtesy Photo)

Those in charge of the setup fought hard to get this event set up as soon as possible for the benefit of the students.

“One of the main reasons for that push once they found out [how many vials] they had available was they saw the need [to] get the students the first shot and the second shot before they were able to get out for summer,” Nester replied.

Those who voted for the setup of this vaccination center were optimistic about its success.

“I think that it’s successful anytime that you can give people the option to receive a free vaccination,” Crutchfield commented.

As the vaccines progress, those in charge on campus are glad to be at the forefront of Covid vaccine administration.

“Personally, I think it’s awesome to be able to offer it. What was even cooler [was] to be able to offer it to students during the school day because you’re already here,” Nester replied. “I don’t know if we were the first school, but we were one of the first schools to...[see] that the need was there. Mr. Crutchfield, Dr. Cobbs, and Mr. Guilliams did what they could to get that push and help us get on the tip of that train moving forward.”

Overall, based on the benefits seen with this first vaccination clinic, there could potentially be more set up in the future.

“If I had to guess, I would assume we would try to offer something like that in the near future, just because the want was there, as well as the need. It’s a great setup [and] it was a great system. It flowed smoothly. As always, it’s just a matter of being able to get the personnel...and making sure all the moving parts merge together and connect at the right time to make it happen. I could foresee that that would happen again,” Nester concluded.

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