Education, Latest News, Monongalia County

Mon Schools: Doses could be given to students aged 5-11 as early as next month

MORGANTOWN — Like a race car at the starting line, revving its engine. That’s how Donna Talerico describes the state of the COVID vaccine in Monongalia County Schools these days.

The district’s deputy superintendent is talking about doses for younger students and boosters for everyone else, in particular.

Once the entities ink their approval —the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration — first-time shots for students ages 5-11 could start going into arms as early as next month, she said.

“We’re looking at the first two weeks of November,” she said, in reference to Pfizer-BioNTech dose that is proving effective in trials among that population.

“Now, of course, all this is tentative, pending those approvals,” Talerico said, “but this is what we’re looking at now.”

Mon’s deputy superintendent said she’s had several telephone meetings with Michele Blatt, her counterpart at the state Department of Education to set up a workable schedule.

Same for the Moderna booster for employees, she said, particularly older teachers or others who are still immuno-compromised, despite being fully vaccinated.

The CDC last week sent a seven-page document with guidance on how to set up vaccination clinics for those children once all the bureaucratic benchmarks are met.

Mon’s school district is already there, Talerico said.

Clinics will be at their respective schools, she said, and parents or other caregivers will be invited to accompany the students as they roll up their sleeves.

That’s to quell any anxiety, the former elementary teacher and principal said.

“Some of the little folks get fearful,” she said. “There’s a phobia about needles. We just want make sure no one gets upset.”

There’s also something else, she said: A big something else.

“We want to be ready,” she said.

“We don’t want to be caught looking, once the approvals are met and everyone is ready to go.”

In the meantime, COVID-19 remains ready, and persistently so, in the district.

Mon Schools ended last week with 53 students and six staffers presenting with positive diagnoses.

A total of 213 students were on quarantine, along with five employees also sitting out for safety after possible exposure to the contagion.

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