(KWWL) -- As Iowa moves toward the next phase of COVID-19 vaccinations, Iowa schools are getting things in order to immunize staff that are willing to get the drug.
"I just want to do my part to stop and prevent the spread of COVID," said Taylor Gottschalk, a virtual teacher with Waterloo Community Schools. "Like many people I want to go back to some sense of normalcy, sooner rather than later."
This week, the Iowa Dept. of Public Health released its final amended recommendations for vaccine administration for Phase 1B. The phase includes a broad spectrum of Iowans from long-term care residents to those in Iowa's correctional system.
"The Black Hawk County Public Health is optimistic, potentially as mid-February for tier 1B which includes educators," said Cedar Falls Schools Superintendent Dr. Andy Pattee at Monday's school board meeting.
Both Cedar Falls Schools and Waterloo Community Schools began surveying staff this week to gauge interest in getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Early Tuesday, Dr. Kingsley Botchway, Waterloo schools' head of Human Resources, said they had received about 823 responses and 95% of those respondents said they would like the vaccine. The district employs 1,409 employees, according to its website.
"We want to be ready to go. We don't want there to be any lag," Botchway said in regards to more vaccines anticipated from the federal government.
As for how they'll administer the vaccine to staff who want it, Botchway says they're considering roughly 3 different scenarios. Options could include bring in healthcare providers to administer the vaccine, create a central location, or use current school healthcare resources.
"We're also looking at can we utilize nurses currently to provide them in all the buildings. We also have an employee clinic that provides a level of confidentiality," Botchway said.
A lot of the decisions come down to how much vaccine the district receives, which teachers want the drug and which school building they work in. Botchway says they could stagger the approach or plan for staff to get the vaccine on Friday to lessen the chance for a staff absence, possibly due to minor side effects from the vaccine, from being an issue.
The Dubuque Community School District and Iowa City Community School District are surveying staff to get a sense of how many are willing to get the vaccine.
Kristin Pedersen, the Director of Community Relations for Iowa City Schools, say they anticipate making the vaccine available at district sites as they work with the Johnson County Public Health Department. A 7 day notice for district vaccine availability is anticipated by Pedersen.
In Cedar Rapids, the school district says they're not doing this kind of surveying at the this time but are awaiting guidance from the IDPH.