Teacher vaccines remain large focus for schools and parents
School board highlights
- Richmond County education officials are talking about changing attendance boundaries to even out how many students are in each building. they are also considering changing C.T. Walker School from K-8 to K-5. Public hearings for these changes will be March 24 and 30.
- Columbia County officials say they plan to hold the fine arts festival on April 24 at Evans Towne Center Park.
- Aiken County school officials are expecting to get $28 million in coronavirus relief. The school board hopes to use the money on several things, including quality air filters.
This week’s meetings
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - At Richmond County’s school board meeting on Tuesday, as well as in Columbia and Aiken counties, vaccinating teachers was the big point of discussion.
For many teachers, a vaccine means a sigh of relief for heading back to the classroom.
“A lot of my colleagues have had COVID or been out quarantining because of COVID and I have not... I don’t know how I dodged the bullet so far,” said Jennie Skrobisz, a science teacher at Harlem High School.
In Columbia County’s board meeting, superintendent Dr. Sandra Carraway said vaccines are available and ready for any teacher who wants one.
According to a survey, about 14 percent of Columbia County school staff who responded said they would not be interested in getting the vaccine.
Richmond County sent out a similar survey with 24 percent of staff who filled it out said they wouldn’t either.
We asked parents if they believe teachers should be required to get the vaccine: every response said no.
“I feel like it’s the teachers’ choice to decide whether or not they feel the vaccination is right for them ... And if they don’t, then that’s OK,” Columbia County parent Kimberly Patteson said.
As of now, Aiken, Richmond, and Columbia counties tell us they are not requiring teachers to get vaccinated though they are encouraging it.
Richmond County teachers will have a half-day on Thursday and a teacher workday on Friday, and all employees will be off the following Monday.
“We knew that our teachers needed some time and they can utilize these times if they would like as days they can get vaccinated,” Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Bradshaw said.
And some parents say regardless of what a teacher chooses to do, their kids are excited that things are getting closer to normal.
“I think they’re really just most excited about not wearing a mask and being able to be next to their friends... With that one-on-one connection,” Patteson said.
All of our counties have been partnering with local health officials to get teachers vaccinated.
In Aiken County, six vaccination sites will be available for teachers this month:
- Friday at Midland Valley High School from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Tuesday at Silver Bluff High School from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- March 19 at Aiken High School from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- March 24 at North Augusta High School from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- March 26 at Wagener-Salley High School from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- March 30 at Ridge Spring-Monetta High School from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
And information about vaccinations wasn’t the only thing coming out of our board meetings tonight.
In Richmond County, board members discussed changing the zoning of some schools to even out how many students are in each building.
Murphy Middle, Richmond Hill Middle, Diamond Lakes Elementary, and Foreman Elementary could all be impacted.
They also are considering changing the student grade levels at CT Walker from K-8 to K-5.
Public hearings for these changes will be on March 24 and March 30.
Meanwhile, the Columbia County Fine Arts Festival will be held on April 24 at Evans Towne Center Park.
And back over in Aiken County, the district is projected to receive $28 million from a federal coronavirus response act. In total, the South Carolina Board of Education received $940 million.
The Aiken Board of Education hopes to use the money on quality air filters.
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