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Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

Schools in Northwest Arkansas & River Valley working to get teachers, staff Covid-19 vaccines

School districts have been working closely with local pharmacies and hospitals to get teachers and staff members vaccinated this week.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Phase 1-B of Arkansas' vaccination plan also includes educators.

School districts have been working closely with local pharmacies and hospitals to get as many teachers and staff vaccinated.

In what some districts are calling a slow but steady process.

RELATED: Where to get COVID-19 vaccine in Northwest Arkansas & River Valley

Fayetteville School District staff members proudly displayed their vaccine cards after getting their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“We were expecting that we could accommodate 1400 staff members in a matter of weeks, but we know that is very dependent on the allotment that our vaccine distributors receive," Melissa Thomas, Fayetteville Public Schools, Director of Health Services, said.

Vaccine distribution plans vary from district to district.

For example, the Fayetteville School District has partnered with local pharmacies to schedule appointments for staff and Washington Regional for a drive-thru shot clinic.

“We know between now and the beginning of February we have over 900 staff members that have made appointments for the vaccine," Thomas said.

By far, one of the biggest school districts in our area is Springdale.

The Springdale School District has nearly 3,000 staff members.

“Springdale Schools are really thankful for our community partners and work with the state government to make sure that we’re able to get these vaccines to our essential workers," Trent Jones, Director of Communications, Springdale School District, said. 

The district plans to host two mass vaccination clinics this week, just north of 1,350 people who have appointments.

“The school system is the heartbeat of the community, and being able to keep the school system as functional as possible it’s paramount to our community, particularly during times like these," Jones said.

RELATED: Springdale School District cancels Friday COVID-19 vaccinations due to reduction in supply

In the River Valley, the Fort Smith School District is working with the state government, healthcare officials, and local pharmacies to develop specific opportunities to get the vaccine.

In the meantime, staff can call participating pharmacies to set an appointment on their own.

“We provided a list to them through email, and so they have those listed pharmacies, and they can contact those pharmacies to schedule an appointment on their own if they would like to do so," Christina Williams, Coordinator Public Information Fort Smith School District, said.

Fort Smith has about 2,000 staff members, with 1,400 expressing interest in getting vaccinated, 400 people remain undecided.

“Whenever supplies are available, we look forward to hosting a large-scale event for our staff the receive those vaccines," Williams said.

RELATED: Mercy Fort Smith will offer COVID-19 vaccinations beginning Jan. 20

In Northwest Arkansas, the Rogers School District is hosting a shot clinic this Thursday (Jan. 21) for staff members who have scheduled appointments only.

A spokesperson for the district says the plan is to vaccinate about 250 people that day.