Vaccine clinic set for ages 12 and up

For the past few months, thousands of Louisa County residents have received their COVID-19 vaccine thanks to an on-campus vaccination clinic at Louisa County Public Schools. The clinic was possible because of a coordinated partnership between the schools and the Blue Ridge Health District.

Now, the clinic is opening its doors to a new demographic: any students ages 12 and up.

Families that would like their child to receive the vaccine can fill out an online registration form. Those who sign up will receive the Pfizer vaccine at the clinic starting on June 2. This vaccine has been approved by the Centers for Disease Control and the health district for individuals 12 and older. As of now, appointments are still available.

“We’re really thankful to the Blue Ridge Health District for working with us these past couple of months to make these clinics a reality,” Superintendent Doug Straley said. “We’ve been able to help a lot of people receive the vaccine in an efficient and organized manner, and that’s our goal. We want to do everything we can to assist members of our community.”

Though school administrators are clear that receiving the vaccine is voluntary, there are several key benefits for students.

For one, students who are fully vaccinated will not have to quarantine in the event they are considered to be a close contact of an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 during the school year that begins this August.

This factor is especially important considering that students will sit within six feet of one another during the upcoming school year as the school division returns to offering five days of in-person instruction per week. A close contact is defined by the CDC as someone who is within six feet of a positive individual for at least 15 cumulative minutes throughout the course of a day.

High school and middle school athletics programs can also be positively impacted by students being vaccinated. Should a large enough percentage of players on an athletic team receive the vaccine, a positive case within the schools or an opposing team’s program would likely not impact the team’s schedule or shut down the program.

The registration form on the schools’ website, lcps.k12.va.us, must be completed before June 1. After the form is received, school officials will contact families with information on how to make an appointment. Openings will be from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on June 2. Any students under age 18 who receive the vaccine must be accompanied by a parent or designated adult while at the clinic.

In an effort to help increase the comfort level for parents and students, Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services Dr. Carla Alpern filmed a walkthrough video of the on-campus clinic, providing viewers with a tour of what they will experience should they sign up for the vaccine.

Alpern encourages interested families to sign up as early as possible.

“The earlier we can get them on the schedule, the better,” she said. “Our mission is to do everything we can to make the process as easy, efficient and accommodating as possible.”

Contact Alpern with questions by email (alpernca@lcps.k12.va.us) or by phone (540-894-5115).

– Courtesy Louisa County Public Schools

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