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More vaccine is on the way for Mon teachers and other school employees

If you give your time to the Monongalia County school district and still haven’t received your COVID shot, then write down these dates and roll up your sleeve.

A vaccination clinic for teachers and other employees will be from 3:30-8 p.m. Friday at Morgantown High School, with another clinic scheduled for the following Friday (March 19) at those same times, also at MHS.

Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr. made the announcement during Tuesday evening’s Board of Education meeting.

“This is breaking news and I’m happy to share it,” he said.

“Before the end of March, every one of our employees who wants a vaccine will have had at least their first dose,” he said.

More than 300 doses of the Moderna vaccine are slated to go into arms at the two clinics, Deputy Superintendent Donna Talerico said.

“We’re excited,” she said after the meeting. “We’re gonna get to the finish line.”

Full-time workers will go first, she said, followed by long-term substitute teachers and outside coaches who serve in supplemental roles with school sports teams.

“We’ll go as deep into this as we can,” the deputy superintendent said.

The new vaccine rollout is part of the state’s initiative to get more teachers inoculated against the coronavirus.

Many educators have expressed frustration in recent days, both over distribution snags of the doses and electronic hiccups of signing up for it through Everbridge, the state’s online vaccination portal.

Numbers of Mon teachers and other district employees have also motored across the state line of neighboring Maryland to receive their shots at a Walgreens pharmacy in Oakland, which is about an hour’s drive from Morgantown.

Campbell told The Dominion Post he was pragmatic about the road trips.

“Whatever list we can get our employees on works,” the superintendent said.

The Terrapin State is among the 20 in the U.S. that don’t have residency requirements for the vaccine, as more and more people have been taking to road in their personal battle against the pandemic.

In the meantime, every Monongalia student in pre-kindergarten through senior year whose family wanted them back in school is doing just that this week.

As of Tuesday, the superintendent said, more than 7,000 students have returned for in-person, five-day-a-week instruction, as per that earlier mandate by the state Board of Education.

“That’s well above the 50% threshold,” he said.

The remaining students are either in distance learning through the county, the West Virginia Virtual component through the state Department of Education or are being home-schooled.

Either way, the superintendent added, it’s just one more tentative notch to normal – in a coronavirus chronology that has been anything but in the Monongalia County and elsewhere.

While spring sports teams are trying to find their way – the boys lacrosse team at Morgantown High is currently in quarantine after two of its members tested positive – there’s still no definitive word on the social right of passage for season: Prom.

The gowns, rented tuxes and corsages are on hold for now while state education officials and health officials are considering all the particulars.

Prom is also the gateway to graduation – and for now, it looks like Mon’s Class of 2021 will go forth in the same manner as the county’s collective seniors in the pandemic year before.

That means a socially distanced commencement on an evening in May, on the turf of the football fields at MHS, University and Clay-Battelle respectively.

BOE President Nancy Walker drew a laugh with her question.

“Will you also be scheduling the weather?” she asked.

That was in reference to the downpours drenched graduates and spectators at the Class of 2020 commencement exercises last spring.