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Clark County School District teachers report vaccination frustrations

Posted at 4:24 PM, Feb 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-05 22:27:00-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Some Clark County School District teachers say they are facing challenges getting their COVID-19 vaccines and worry that they’re running out of time. Teachers who are returning to campus have expressed concern that they may not get all of their shots in time before some of the students return too.

Shots are getting into teacher’s arms across the Las Vegas valley—and it’s a step forward for Nicole Hess, a kindergarten teacher at Helen Marie Smith Elementary. She got her first dose last week, but now is having trouble getting her second shot.

“I’m also seeing teachers that didn’t have their second appointment scheduled while they were getting their first dose, are struggling to get their second dose,” she said.

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Hess says her colleagues are worried about the timing as CCSD is set to have pre-K through third-grade students return to campus for hybrid learning on March 1.

“Majority of teachers will not have the second dose, let alone the two to three week wait period for it to reach full efficacy,” she said.

Hess says they all went through different experiences after getting their initial shot.

“Some teachers we’re given a second appointment. Some teachers we’re not,” she said.

Clark County Education Association President Marie Neisess says the union is aware of vaccination headaches, saying they’ve seen a combination of teachers struggling to get appointments for first or second doses. She says it’s trying to work with CCSD and the Southern Nevada Health District to make the process easier but can’t control the number of vaccines given out.

“We’re trying to get involved and advocate for our educators but that is a process out of our control, but we are definitely trying to have those conversations to smooth this process,” she said.

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We asked CCSD about this issue and the district says for those teachers who went to UNLV to get their first dose, their second dose appointments were automatically scheduled.

But, for those teachers who went to one of the sites run by SNHD to get their first dose, they are responsible for making their second dose appointments.

Ryan Fromoltz, an English teacher at Las Vegas High School says there could have been better direction from officials.

“We wish the district and SNHD would work together to get the information in a more timely and organized manner, but we understand the pressure they’re going through right now,” he said.

Hess says she plans to keep virtually teaching after March 1 and will continue working on getting that second shot.

“If it’s another two to three weeks for me to figure it out, I’ll be due for the second dose at that point already and hopefully I can get an appointment for it,” she said.

There’s an added sense of urgency because pre-K to third-grade teachers are set to return to campus starting on Feb. 22, a week before they have some students in the classrooms.