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Some School Staff Vaccinated, Others Still Waiting


Right now, Wisconsin teachers and childcare workers are among those eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Many school employees in our area are getting vaccinated, but some sooner than others.

At Northland Pines School District, employees have either already gotten a COVID-19 vaccine or they’ll be able to get one before the weekend.

“We’re hoping to have everyone in our district done this week,” the district administrator, Scott Foster, said. “That’s our goal. Anyone who wanted one should have an opportunity by the end of the day Friday to get them.”

It hasn’t been two weeks since Wisconsin teachers and childcare workers became eligible for the vaccine on March 1, but the Northland Pines School District didn’t want to wait to get its employees vaccinated.

So they partnered with Hometown pharmacies in Land O’ Lakes, St. Germain and Eagle River.

“The bulk of our teachers were able to get them in a partnership through a pharmacy in town,” Foster said.

This option proved much faster than waiting for the state to allocate vaccines for school employees to the county health department – which is what other schools in the area are doing.

John Sample, the district administrator of Merrill Area Public Schools, said they’re still unsure when the school’s vaccine allotment will be delivered to the Lincoln County Health Department.

“What we’re hoping for,” he said, “and it’s very tentative at this point, we’re hoping to have the vaccine come into our county in time to receive our first vaccination prior to our spring break.”

That break is at the end of March.

Rhinelander School District employees have begun to get vaccinated through a series of smaller clinics with the Oneida County Health Department.

Kerri Schmidt, the school district nurse, says because the supply of vaccines varies from week to week, she’s unsure when the entire staff will have the opportunity to get vaccinated.

Since most schools in Northern Wisconsin already offer in-person instruction, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine won’t change day-to-day operations.

But district administrators say it will make returning to school in the fall more comfortable.

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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