FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Meijer pharmacists took over the gym at Woodside Middle School to give staff their first round of the Pfizer vaccine.
“Almost exactly a year ago on March 13 the schools shut down in our area, and so it feels like for the first time in a year,” said Jennifer Peeper, who teaches 6th Grade Reading and Language Arts at Summit Middle School. “This is really a big step forward.”
Peeper was one of around 500 Southwest Allen County Schools staff who received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday. Meijer supplied the Pfizer vaccine at Woodside Middle School to Southwest staff, as well as those who work at various private schools around the city.
Half of those vaccinated were teachers and the other half were other staff essential to keeping the wheels turning.
“We had to shut down the secondary schools for a period of time because we just didn’t have enough staff we didn’t have enough substitutes to help,” said Luann Erickson, Director of Human Resources for Southwest Allen. “This allows us to bring people back we have some substitutes and bus drivers are coming back now because they’re able to get the vaccine so this should help with our staffing.”
Peeper is hopeful that more vaccinated teachers also means more time teaching in-person.
“I’m hoping that just with more people being vaccinated and the adults that it’s just that less risk,” said Peeper. “When you’re fully vaccinated following the CDC guidelines, it says that you don’t have to do some of that quarantine. And so that’s what still is affecting us from time to time.”
Southwest staff will get the second shot to staff on April 1, 2021.