Vaccination Hub for LHS Teachers
By: Ben Blazel
With MMSD reopening schools to students after almost a year long hiatus, the district is taking a variety of steps in order to make sure that students and staff are safe. La Follette High School is at the center of this goal. On March 12th, MMSD partnered with SSM Health to become a vaccination hub based out of La Follette. Almost 1,200 doses of the vaccine were provided to the district in order to vaccinate as many staff members as possible. With elementary schools beginning their in-person teaching on March 9th and the goal of having virtually every other MMSD student learning in-person by April 27th, the vaccinations couldn’t have come soon enough.
Although elementary educators were prioritized initially, there has been such an increase in vaccine supplies in Madison that now many high school teachers, including those at La Follette, are getting vaccinated. Surprisingly, though, not every La Follette staff member received their vaccination from the LHS vaccination hub. Many La Follette staff members have been getting vaccinated in a multitude of different ways, ranging from other district-backed vaccine distributors to Walgreens. AP Psychology and Social Studies teacher Philip Neppl was one of the La Follette staff members who did not receive his vaccine via the LHS building. “[I] got an email from Dane County Public Health alerting me that I was eligible because they got a new shipment of [the] Johnson and Johnson vaccine,” Mr. Neppl said. He is now extremely excited to get back and definitely feels more of a “sense of ease” in regards to returning. Mr. Neppl also made sure to specify that just because he is vaccinated, doesn’t change the fact that he will continue to follow COVID-19 guidelines, such as wearing a mask and social distancing.
Some La Follette teachers did receive their vaccine from the LHS vaccination hub. La Follette cross categorical teacher, Tom Theisen, was one of the La Follette staff members who actually received the vaccine from the building itself. “It was easy and efficient!” Mr. Theisen said. “Lots of staff members from around the district [were] coming to La Follette and getting their vaccines without any issues at all,” Theisen continued. The increase in vaccinations has definitely caused a sense of relief among teachers in regards to returning back to in-person teaching. Mr. Theisen described the scene in the La Follette gym as a positive one in which “people enjoyed seeing their colleagues and friends” for the first time, undoubtedly, in a while.
Both Mr. Neppl and Mr. Theisen expressed how excited they are to return back to the classroom in person and that receiving the vaccine only further enhances their enthusiasm. Both shared the same sentiment, but Mr. Theisen summed it up best when saying “I hope everyone will take advantage of the chance to get vaccinated as soon as it's available to them!”
Photo Credit: State Bar of Wisconsin