Some Bend-La Pine Schools staff members will get their first dose of COVID vaccines this week as the district finalizes preparations for reopening later this month.
According to a letter to staff, more than 430 BLP employees will be notified Wednesday to schedule their appointment this week.
The first round of vaccines will take place from Wednesday through Sunday.
More than 700 educators in the region will be invited to schedule a vaccine, starting today.
“These staff members, who often work with our most vulnerable students, qualify for early vaccination as part of the 1A sequencing plan because they work with students in Life Skills and special education classrooms, they drive buses for our students being served in special programs, and they provide critical medical care to our students and staff,” according to the letter.
The vaccines will be provided at no cost and teachers are not required to be vaccinated.
First up on the state’s Phase 1A of Oregon’s Phase 1a Vaccine Sequencing Plan include:
Life Skills Teacher
Life Skills EA
Traumatic Brain Injury Consultant
Educators of the Visually Impaired
Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Sign Language Interpreters
Transition Network Facilitator
For the first time since last March, Bend-La Pine’s general student population is preparing to return to the classroom.
Starting the week of January 18th, K-3 students will attend an orientation week with one-day in person (Tuesday, Thursday or Friday) to learn safety and classroom protocols.
They’ll return full time the week of January 25th.
Students in grades 4-5 will go through a similar orientation the week of January 25th.
Middle and high schoolers will also have an orientation week in late January.
Many parents and teachers are concerned about getting back into the classroom before school staff is vaccinated.
About 1,800 of the district’s roughly 18,000 students have been in class for various programs that require in-person learning.
“Thank you to everyone who is working behind the scenes help to make this opportunity a reality for our staff and to bring a shot of hope to our families and employees,” the letter to staff says. “Our greatest gratitude to the volunteers in the Deschutes County COVID-19 Incident Management Team who have been working days, nights, and weekends to get us here today – thank you!”
The Bend La Pine School Board will discuss teacher vaccinations at Tuesday night’s board meeting, which can be streamed at 5:30 p.m. on the Bend La Pine Schools board YouTube channel.