FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas — Even though there aren’t enough doses to go around, hundreds of teachers and school employees have been lucky enough to get their first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine this week across Arkansas.
On Friday (Jan. 22) Fayetteville educators lined up at a drive-thru clinic to receive theirs.
“It just feels like a weight lifted off my shoulders that I’m a little more protected. I’ll still wear my mask and keep others protected but just the opportunity for a vaccine is great,” said Jodi Mears, a fifth-grade teacher at McNair Middle School.
Fayetteville School District employees have had the opportunity to get the Covid-19 vaccine at a drive-thru clinic at Washington Regional Medical Center all this week.
Mears says she is thankful that the district was able to provide them with the vaccine. She hopes this is a step in the right direction for a normal school year in the fall.
“It’s tough to constantly remind our kids, we have to be five feet apart, we have to be six feet apart or 12 feet apart so we’re being safe and guys you need to have your masks on and that kind of thing. And not see their face and not do the things we want to do,” she said.
Susan Steinruck works in the cafeteria at Root Elementary and also got her vaccine at the drive-thru clinic.
“Especially working with the children, I’ll have peace of mind just walking around doing my daily activities and I won’t have to keep worrying,” she said.
In Fort Smith, district employees were also given the vaccine Friday but only 400 employees got the opportunity because of the limited number of doses.
Earlier this week more than 1,300 Springdale school employees also got their first dose.
“Educators have been on the frontline from the very beginning and being able to get their vaccinations right now, that’s a step in creating a safe environment for our students and teachers,” said Carol Fleming, President of the Arkansas Education Association.
Fleming says this has been an exciting week for teachers and school staff.
“It’s so important for us to have that face-to-face instruction and with the vaccinations, it’s allowing our educators to feel more comfortable as they are continuing to provide face-to-face instruction and we know there is no replacement for that,” she said.
This week 500 Bentonville Schools staff members also received the vaccine as well as 250 Rogers Schools employees.
Fayetteville School District employees can also schedule an appointment to get their vaccine at Medical Arts Pharmacy.
The drive-thru clinic at Washington Regional will be held every weekday next week (Jan. 25) except for Wednesday (Jan. 27) from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.