Matt Marietta

Milton Emergency Manager and Deputy Fire Chief Matt Marietta gets the COVID-19 vaccine.

With Fulton County Schools’ teacher and staff COVID-19 vaccination days starting March 22, district leaders are concerned that only a fraction of its 14,000 employees have signed up to get inoculated.

“About 3,500 (have) registered thus far, about half of what we wanted,” Chief Talent Officer Ron Wade said. “Because of that, we’re going to keep the registration open (longer than planned).”

Wade provided an update on the district’s plan at the Fulton Board of Education’s March 18 meeting at the South Learning Center in Union City.

At the board’s March 9 work session at the North Learning Center in Sandy Springs, the district announced it will host the vaccination days at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta in two phases. The first one is March 22 through 27 for the first dose, and the second one is April 12 through 17 for the second dose.

While teachers and staff are being vaccinated, all elementary schools will shift to virtual learning March 22 through 24, and middle schools will do so March 24 and 25. High schools will pivot to online classes March 25 and 26. All schools will be in remote learning April 12 through 16.

During his presentation, Wade wore a Project Vaccinate 2021 T-shirt, which the district is using to encourage teachers to get inoculated, since some may be fearful of it and Fulton wants all of them vaccinated. If they are vaccinated, they can wear the T-shirt while teaching, along with jeans, until April 9.

“I’m disappointed only half of the staff has signed up to get vaccinated so far. I sure hope the efforts you put into this pay off and everyone gets vaccinated,” District 3 board member Gail Dean said, referring to the fact that half of the district’s teachers have registered to get the vaccine thus far.

While the number of teachers being inoculated is lower than the district had hoped so far, it does not include the teachers and staff who chose to get the vaccine prior to Fulton’s designated vaccination days.

“I hope we are being able to find a way to capture how many people might have received the vaccine but not through Fulton County. I think that may see those numbers will go up quite a bit,” District 7 member Julia Bernath said.

In response, Wade said, “What we plan to do, once we complete the series for Project Vaccinate, is (to) come back and launch a survey and start to collect those numbers.”

He also said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) soon are expected to announce the required social distancing measurement in schools will decrease from 6 feet to 3.

For more information on Fulton’s vaccination days, visit http://bit.ly/3eoVF7v.

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