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Charles City teachers, staff receive COVID vaccinations

Charles City teachers, staff receive COVID vaccinations
By James Grob,

Charles City School District employees received a collective shot in the arm on Friday — both literally and figuratively.

Despite classes getting called off due to winter weather conditions, nearly 200 teachers and staff members in Charles City found their way to the Charles City High School gym to receive the first round of their COVID-19 vaccinations.

“The COVID vaccine clinic was a significant event for the Charles City Community Schools family,” the school district stated in a news release to the Charles City Press. “We are fortunate to be a part of the early distribution.”

Floyd County Public Health received 400 doses of the Moderna vaccine last week, earmarked for first responders, school staff and day care staff. Of those, about 300 were designated for school districts in Floyd County in Charles City, Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock and Central Springs.

“We weren’t expecting that additional allocation, so we were pleasantly surprised,” Floyd County Public Health director Gail Arjes said last week.

The school district said the vaccinations were an important step toward returning to normal, as Charles City returned to full-time, in-person learning in all buildings last month.

“Our school family continues to serve the families of this community during this COVID season,” the school district stated. “This first dose provides reassurance that we can continue to create competent, compassionate problem-solvers while continuing to keep kids and adults safe.”

Floyd County Public Health distributed the vaccine at the school, with an assist from some high school certified nursing assistant (CNA) students.

Arjes said the students put stickers on paperwork and helped nurses retrieve materials, although they were not working hands-on with patients. She said using the students allowed her to keep her secretaries in the public health office.

“They had the opportunity to help with paperwork and help organize the process,” said CNA class instructor Donna Forsyth. “They are all very excited for this opportunity.”

The seven students in the CNA class were seniors Avery Merta and Zachary Graeser, juniors Kaylee Anderson, Jordan Boyce, Hannah Lahner and Emma Schmiedel and sophomore Reign Vallebo. Kathy Cerwinski from Chautauqua Guest Homes was there Friday to supervise the students.

“We are incredibly proud of our certified nursing assistant students who assisted in vaccine distribution in a real hands-on, authentic learning environment,” the school district stated. “Today is an example of our increase in student rigor and how our students can see the actual application of their daily learning.”

Forsyth said the students have been coming into school at 6 a.m. for their CNA lab work.

“I am so excited for these students and the amazing future they have in front of them,” Forsyth said. “They are all very caring individuals and are truly passionate about helping others.”