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Haysville school district among first in area to bring COVID-19 vaccine to students

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 10:44 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Students are now getting the chance to get vaccinated at school. In the Wichita area, the Haysville school district is one of the first to bring a COVID-19 vaccine to students.

Like many others the school district just south of Wichita is seeking a return to normal. That’s why since USD 261 held its vaccination clinic for staff, it stayed in contact with Sedgwick County about making that an option for its students. Next Saturday, April 24 at Haysville West Middle School, that’s what will happen.

Currently, in Sedgwick County, anyone 16 and older can schedule an appointment to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

After a school year with school buildings sometimes void of students, the Haysville school district sees the COVID-19 vaccine as a solution to the yearlong problem.

“The sooner we get students vaccinated that we can, the sooner that we can get back to normal,” said USD 261 District School Nurse Beth Shutte, RN. “Hopefully, we, in the fall, (won’t) have all the quarantine, isolating. I don’t know if masks will be around, but maybe we can get away from masks too.”

That’s what Schutte is working to achieve. The April 24 vaccination clinic at Haysville West is for students 16 and older, as well as family members of students and staff.

“Did it on a Saturday because anyone under 18, we do need a parent present. So we did in on the weekend so parents have time to get them there,” Schutte said.

Sedgwick County is providing Haysville with 500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The district is providing eligible students with information about the vaccine, but Schutte said it’s likely not the students who will need convincing.

“More (of) the students are open to it, but really, it’s the parents we have to win over,” she said. “I get that parents are being very proactive and want to be very cautious. We do want to reassure them though, this is a safe vaccine. It’s been tested. It’s been researched.”

Schutte said while most in the teen and young-adult age group remain asymptomatic if they contract COVID-19, they can still spread it to people who are susceptible. Schutte said the vaccine could keep students from missing out on some of the most memorable moments of Senior year.

“One of our biggest concerns is that prom is two weeks from graduation, so if we have a student who picks up COVID at prom, they’re going to start showing symptoms about seven to 10 days out,” she said. “That puts us like right before graduation.”

Schutte said the district is keeping the definition of family members of students and staff all-encompassing to include not just parents, but grandparents, aunts and uncles. Students and family members do need to sign up for the vaccine. They can do so here.

The district is looking at a second-dose clinic for May 15th, although details are still being worked out.

Newton Schools is another local district that has hosted a vaccination clinic for their students 16 and older in partnership with Hesston Pharmacy. Students needed parent approval in order to get the shot and the vaccine is not required for students.

More than 50 students and some staff took advantage of the Newton Schools clinic. The second dose clinic is being scheduled for later in April.

Students who get the vaccine could also get a benefit as it relates to prom. As Eyewitness News reported last week, the district is offering to cover the cost of prom tickets for Campus High School students who receive at least their first dose of the vaccine. The cost of the ticket is $20. Students who don’t get vaccinated are still allowed to attend prom, they just aren’t eligible for free tickets.

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