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Hundreds get vaccinated at first clinic for Aiken County school staff

Published: Mar. 12, 2021 at 6:21 PM EST
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AIKEN CO, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Some of the first teachers in Aiken County public schools get the vaccine today.

Aiken County is the first district in our area to bring those doses right to their schools. One of the first stops was Midland Valley High, where several hundreds of staff received their vaccine doses.

It’s a small dent in a large fight to get schools back to normal.

“Not only is it a way to do mass vaccinations at one time, but it allows teachers to do it during the day,” Mendi Tucker said.

Tucker is Aiken County’s Director of Elementary Schools. She says today, most teachers were excited and relieved after the type of year that the pandemic has brought.

“I think they’ve done a superb job in overcoming those challenges and learning how to do school in a different way this year,” she said.

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Rural Health Services have turned their Midland Valley school gym into a full vaccination site.

“It’s been difficult for the teachers,” Carolyn Emanuel McClain with Rural Health said. “We already have a relationship with Aiken County schools, doing school health services at several of their schools.”

And nursing students from Denmark Tech pitched in to help too. One student helping, Don Pencille says, he’s not only excited for a more normal end to the school year, but to see someone he loves.

“My mom is 81-years-old, and I wanted to make sure I was protected. She’s had her shots. I haven’t been able to see her as much. But getting the shot will make me feel comfortable enough to go visit her.”

Aiken County is doing five more clinics on-site at schools across the county, and more than half of their employees are set to get the shot.

Aiken County schools aren’t requiring teachers and staff to get vaccinations, but they are encouraging it. They plan to vaccinate as many as possible, to keep schools open for five days a week.

“Just feeling like some sense of normalcy is going to possibly come back,” Tucker.

Aiken County’s next teacher clinic is Tuesday at Silver Bluff High School. It will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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