The School District of Janesville will give students a day off next Friday so its teachers can receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The state Department of Health Services has not yet finalized which groups will be in the second phase of vaccination, and currently only health care workers and nursing home and assisted living residents are eligible to receive the vaccine.
DHS also has not provided a start date for the second phase, called Phase 1B, when teachers likely will be eligible for the vaccine.
Teachers and child care providers have been included in a plan from the State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee vaccine panel for the second phase, along with firefighters and police officers, health care workers who don’t treat COVID-19 patients and mink farmers.
But the state health department has not yet given its final say on the plan.
“We appreciate our vaccinators are looking ahead, however, teachers are not currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. We are looking forward to having more vaccine and being able to protect more populations,” a DHS spokeswoman said in a statement. “We will be opening up eligibility to more populations as we get more vaccine in Wisconsin.”
The Janesville School District canceled classes Jan. 22 “to make it possible to vaccinate more than 1,300 SDJ employees,” Superintendent Steve Pophal said in a news release.
Pophal said the district learned on Thursday it would be able to vaccinate all its employees next week.
MercyHealth, a Janesville-based hospital system, will be distributing the doses and set up the Jan. 22 date with the district, Pophal said. School district employees plan to receive the second dose on Feb. 12.
It is unclear whether the state will allow vaccine distributors to move to Phase 1B by next Friday. State health officials have previously said that the first phase doesn’t have to be complete for the second phase to begin.
“DHS is following up with vaccinators who are not following the guidelines and will be following up with Mercy,” the state health department said in a statement.
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