Metro schools looking at ways to get students COVID-19 vaccines

Tracking Coronavirus

OLATHE, Kan. — COVID-19 vaccines are open to all Kansas residents and all Missourians will be eligible starting Friday.

As doses become more readily available, metro schools are looking at ways to vaccinate teens.

Olathe Schools have now helped every teacher and staffer wanting the vaccine. Now, it and several other districts are hoping to extend the same opportunity to students who qualify, ages 16 and older. It could prove another important layer in keeping kids safe and in school.

Children’s Mercy is ramping up its efforts to vaccinate teens against COVID-19. More clinics are now planned. Olathe Public Schools could soon join that effort.

“I think it’s just one step in the process to making what we know as school seem a little bit normal in the fall when we think about the 21-22 school year,” said Anjanette Tolman, Olathe Public Schools special services executive director.

The district is sending a survey to high school parents, hoping to gauge how much interest families might have in teens getting the COVID-19 vaccine at school buildings during school hours.

While some eligible kids are already vaccinated, others might not have a way to get the shot.

“Something that we’re very passionate about in Olathe is making sure that we’re addressing the needs of our community and we do have a diverse community and one in which we recognize there are some pockets and holes with regard to healthcare and access and offering something like this whether it be during school day or evening or weekend where maybe our community could potentially even be part of that would be very helpful and beneficial to some of those populations,” Tolman said.

As shared in a University of Kansas Health System call, doctors stress getting kids vaccinated is key in stopping the pandemic in its tracks.

“Herd immunity you have to include the other group of people that can actually get infected and spread the disease and that is not just the adults. That is the children as well. We know that they can still reproduce in the same viral loads and the same amount of virus that adults do,” said Dr. Dana Hawkinson, University of Kansas Health System Infection Prevention.

Olathe may work with neighboring Johnson County schools, the health department, Children’s Mercy and others to conduct vaccine clinics.

“The numbers and interest level is really going to drive where we are with when we’re hosting the clinics, where we’re hosting a potential clinic and who is part of that,” said Tolman.

FOX4 checked with several metro districts about their considerations for offering COVID-19 vaccines to eligible students who want the shot.

Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools said it is in the initial phases of working with community partners when it comes to offering the COVID-19 vaccine to those 16 and over. It will have more information in the coming weeks and months.

Park Hill Schools said it’s on their radar, but it doesn’t have any concrete details to share just yet.

North Kansas City, Mo. said as a service to its students, NKC Schools would like to provide a vaccine clinic to students 16 and older when they become eligible. It would explore on-site opportunities to vaccinate those students who would like to participate.

Kansas City, Missouri Public Schools said it has been working with Children’s Mercy to provide clinics for our kids. These have all been at Children’s Mercy sites so far but now it is working on on-site clinics at schools for students.

If you’d like to sign up your teen or young adult to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before schools begin offering them, four clinics are being offered soon by Children’s Mercy Hospital. You can sign-up online through the patient portal or by calling (816) 234-3700.

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