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Mon Schools complete another COVID vax clinic — looks forward to coming year

For Susan Haslebacher, Wednesday may have been the last actual day of school for 2020-21 in Monongalia County.

Clinically and emotionally speaking, that is.  

Or, she said, it may have been the first actual day of the year for 2021-22 — for the same.

“Either way, it’s momentum,” said Haslebacher, a nurse by training who directs student health services for the district.

She was talking about the COVID vaccination clinics which wrapped up this week in the district.

Around 700 people — students, their parents and others associated with Mon Schools — rolled up their sleeves for either their first or second doses, in an act she said couldn’t be more important.

Add that to the 866 students who went into summer break at the end of last month with at least one shot, she said, plus the 1,600 teachers and staffers who were also inoculated.

People queuing up Tuesday and Wednesday were basically with the program, Haslebacher said.

“Most everybody remembered their cards if they [were] coming back for their second shot,” she said.

The district partnered with Champion Pharmacy for the dosages, and if you’re a student, or a parent of a student who missed the clinics, the director wants you to make note of this telephone number: 304-842-7979.

That’s the Bridgeport number of the pharmacy chain with outlets in Morgantown. Call it, she said, and you’ll be able to set up an appointment for an inoculation here.

“We don’t want anyone to miss getting the shot,” Haslebacher said.

The pandemic didn’t miss the district this past school year.

While case numbers were relatively low, they were also a regular occurrence once students began reporting to school for face-to-face learning.

A total of 137 students — or, less than 1% of the county’s total student population — tested positive for the virus this term, Deputy Schools Superintendent DonnaTalerico said.

Another 160 teachers, staffers and other adults associated with the district also came down with COVID, she said.

That’s roughly 9% of the district’s adult workforce.

But the attention-getting numbers came from the resulting quarantines — 95 in a set of schools here, a whole sports team having to sit out for two weeks there.

Talerico said those numbers owed themselves to the rigorous protocols the district put into place for the pandemic.

Until the end weeks of the year, the district had done its own contact tracing, in-house.

Everyone in every building wore a mask and practiced social distancing.

Meanwhile, the majority of cases came from Morgantown and University high schools, both of which boast the largest enrollments in the district, she said.

Getting vaccinated means achieving herd immunity, the deputy superintendent said.

And achieving herd immunity, Talerico said, means hitting all those high school benchmarks that were canceled altogether — or greatly diminished in the 14 months the Mountain State has been laboring under the pandemic.

“We have to get our kids vaccinated,” she said.

“This is the only way we’re going to be able to fully get back to football and prom and graduation, the way they used to be.”

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