D86 teachers getting vaccines this week

By Pamela Lannom

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Hinsdale Central teachers who want to receive a COVID-19 vaccination can do so today through Saturday, right on campus.

“I’m happy to announce tonight that we have formed a partnership with Osco to vaccinate all our 1b employees in District 86 plus all our feeder districts plus our LADSE cooperative,” Hinsdale High School District 86 Superintendent Tammy Prentiss told board members at their Jan. 28 board meeting.

The district has secured 1,800 doses, a number expected to cover teachers, support staff, administrators, custodians, Quest (food service) employees, transportation providers and possibly substitutes, coaches and other vendor employees along with teachers in feeder districts and the La Grange Area Department of Special Education.

“We anticipate being able to supply all critical employees with that amount,” Prentiss said. “By having the first dose, we are guaranteed the second dose March 4, 5 and 6, four weeks later,” she said.

The district expects some employees, who have already started the vaccination process with their own doctor or pharmacy or who have scheduling issues, will opt out, Chris Jasculca, District 86 communications director, told The Hinsdalean after the meeting.

“This may free up doses for anyone who is not scheduled to be vaccinated,” he said.

In order to offer the vaccinations at both Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South campuses, students’ schedules were adjusted this week and will be again the first week of March. Instead of having all students attend remotely on Wednesday, they will do so on Friday.

Vaccinating teachers is an important step, but does not mean all students can come back to school, officials said.

“Just because they’re all vaccinated doesn’t mean we’re back at 100 percent,” board member Marty Turek said.

“It’s still 6 feet and a mask,” Prentiss said. “There is no scientific data that you can not transmit” the virus after receiving the vaccine.

DuPage County Health Department officials last month asked superintendents in the county to form a partnership with a third party that could deliver the vaccine, Prentiss told board members. Osco is billing the teachers’ health insurance for the vaccine, with the district picking up the minimal cost to host and facilitate, Jasculca said.

In addition to working with local Osco representatives, who are handling vaccines for school staff, the district is working with Osco’s corporate office to create a plan to vaccinate village staff members in Hinsdale, Burr Ridge, Clarendon Hills, Darien, Oak Brook and Willowbrook and residents 65 and older who live in the district. Eligible community members will be contacted by their village governments.

“District 86 has been gracious enough to offer as a vaccination site to provide vaccination opportunities for those District 86 residents who qualify under classifications 1a and 1b,” Village President Tom Cauley said at Tuesday night’s village board meeting. “As vaccinations become available, the village and District 86 will work with the vaccine providers and the county health department to notify the community of the eligible categories.”

District 86 Board President Kevin Camden said the district is happy to coordinate the effort.

“I think we need to serve the community in that regard, and I’m very proud of what we’re doing to continue moving this process forward,” he said.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean