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Nearly 80 East Allegheny School District teachers and support employees are on schedule to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Superintendent Alan Johnson told the school board this week.
A clinic was set up at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit offices at the Waterfront in Homestead, and distribution of the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine began on March 11, he said. The focus for the first round has been on vaccinating elementary school staff, Johnson said.
“Just to give you an idea of the demand for this, there were a total of 7,400 doses allocated to Allegheny County for educators and there were 18,000 requests for the vaccine,” he said. “So obviously demand exceeded supply.”
The second round for school staff is expected to happen in the next two to three weeks.
During the meeting, Mark Draskovich, district pandemic coordinator, shared promising data in terms of SARS-CoV-2 cases within the district. The numbers have declined significantly and are at the lowest rate since late October, he said, but the percentages of positive cases keeps the district in the state’s “substantial risk category.”
With COVID-19 numbers declining and teachers getting vaccinated, district officials said the next step is to discuss when all students will be able to return to full-time in-person instruction.
A survey has been distributed to parents to gauge their comfort level based on the information that social distancing practices would no longer be manageable due to the number of students and space available. Johnson said a special meeting may be necessary to talk through what is best for the district as the final nine-week grading period approaches.
Pennsylvania System of School Assessments and Keystone Exams will be administered during the month of April and run through mid-May, district officials reported. Students in grades 3-6 at the elementary school and those required at the junior and senior high school will be tested on English, math and science utilizing a new online platform from the state Department of Education.
Johnson said he hopes remote students will be able to use the same technology from home. Districts were given the option to postpone the testing until the fall, due to the pandemic, but EA has chosen to go forward with the assessments in the spring.
Also announced at the school board meeting, EA’s spring musical “The Awesome 80’s Prom” will be held April 15, 16 and 17. The shows will be performed in the outdoor court and tickets will be limited to maintain social distancing. More information will be available in the upcoming weeks on the district’s website, eawildcats.net.
Kristen Keleschenyi is a freelance writer in North Versailles Twp. and one of the hosts of the Kristen & Amber Show on WMCK Internet Radio at 5 p.m. Saturdays, 9 p.m. Mondays and 4 p.m. Thursdays. She may be reached at email@example.com.
Editor’s Note: Due to an editing error, this story incorrectly implied that all of the teachers had already been vaccinated. In fact, the vaccinations are still ongoing. Kristen’s reporting was correct and I apologize for the error. —Jason Togyer, Executive Director
Originally published March 16, 2021.