DAVIDSON COUNTY — At its most recent meeting, the Davidson County Board of Education was informed of the upcoming strategy for how the COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed to local schools.

Davidson County Health Director Lillian Koontz addressed her department’s efforts at vaccinating individuals in priority groups, anticipating moving to the next group, and eventually the schools. Koontz said she has been in communication with DCS Superintendent Emily Lipe to outline what the next steps will be.

“I have talked with Dr. Lipe about how we’re going to vaccinate the school system when it’s time,” Koontz said. “Unfortunately, the system requires an email address from every person who gets a vaccine if they’re going to register themselves online.”

In anticipation of the possible hurdles associated with administering the vaccine to those inside the schools, the health director said members of her department are being proactive in their preparation for outreach, rather than expecting the schools to come to them.

“We will send an email to each team, ask them to garner the names of individuals who are interested in a vaccine,” Koontz said. “We’ll understand how many folks you have, we’ll look at how many vaccines we have and then we’ll start scheduling dates to come to you. You have a very large system, a very large staff. It will be easier for us to come to you and do clinics that way.”

In the first week of January, 57 DCS students tested positive for COVID-19, accounting for 0.3% of the system’s student population. An additional 33 staff members, or 1.4%, tested positive, according to Lipe.

A timetable for the schools’ vaccination, the number of clinics and their locations have yet to be determined. Due to continual shifting of health department resources toward preventative measures, contact tracing is not available in the way the department was conducting it throughout the pandemic.

This is due to the dedication of resources to vaccinations and the “explosion” of case numbers, Koontz said. Further, available hours have been depleted, as the Davidson County Health Department remains the only provider of the vaccine in the county.

In order to make an appointment for the vaccine, Davidson County residents are encouraged to call 336-236-3096 or visit https://www.co.davidson.nc.us/976/COVID-19-Vaccine. All appointments are limited to those 75 and older or frontline healthcare workers as of press time.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at kennedy@tvilletimes.com.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at kennedy@tvilletimes.com.