SCS staff will start to receive COVID-19 vaccine this week

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thousands of Shelby County School staff members will get COVID vaccination shots in their arms this Wednesday.

Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray expected to get 6,000 employees vaccinated by Friday.

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Keith Williams with the Memphis-Shelby County Education Association believed vaccinations are a step in the right direction but he wanted teachers to get both shots before returning to the classrooms.

“Half of the vaccine is better than none of it but if you are interested in vaccinating people you would give them the total vaccine before allowing them back to the building,” said Williams.

“We had to ask, we had to beg, we had to pray to get it and we got it so we are grateful.”

An SCS spokesperson said about 6,000 staff members showed interest in getting the vaccine out of the district’s 14,000 employees.

During a zoom call meeting with Shelby County leaders this afternoon, the Superintendent expressed his thanks.

“We made several public pleas for prioritization for our teachers and staff as part of our mitigation strategy,” said Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray.

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“Vaccines are not our only strategy but it’s been a very essential resource to keep educators safe.”

On Monday, kindergarten through fifth-grade teachers and students will return back to the classrooms.

One week later it will be 6th through 12th grade.

For Ray, teacher vaccinations are the action he’s been looking for a while.

“I’m just so excited and we said before our schools are ready and we are prepared to return stronger,” said Ray.

Meanwhile, Williams said he still has concerns.

“We are grateful for that but I still think it is a rushed job and should have included the full vaccination of all teachers prior to returning to the buildings,” said Williams.

On Wednesday, teachers will start getting their vaccines at 8:30 a.m.

The other location is at the training and learning academy off Union Ave.