Over 60 staff members in the Lake Mills Area School District were vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of the day Thursday, Jan. 13.
As a part of phase 1A, teachers, fire and EMS personnel, considered essential workers, were vaccinated by the Jefferson County Health Department last week.
“We were notified about a week ago that some of our staff qualified in Group 1A,” said Tonya Olson, Lake Mills Area School District administrator.
Those staff members included speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, special education teachers and paraprofessionals as well as health room assistants.
Jefferson County epidemiologist Samroz Jakvani says the health department had extra doses of vaccine available from the Phase 1A roll-out. Health officials say they continue to actively recruit for those eligible under phase 1A, but there wasn’t as much of a response as anticipated under this tier. Who will receive the vaccinations in phase 1B has not yet been decided.
“We were able to get their appointments scheduled early this week. We got an email from the Jefferson County epidemiologist telling us they were ready to go,” Olson said.
The school district was asked to prioritize a list of the district’s top 30 individuals to receive the vaccine.
“We worked with the school nurse to prioritize those with underlying health conditions and considered age and positions we can’t go without,” Olson said. “We notified staff this morning and right away people were just giddy across the district. There is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Steve Alexander, a custodian and sports announcer, in the Lake Mills Area School District received his vaccine this week.
“Getting the vaccine gives me a sense of security from getting COVID and I really appreciate the Lake Mills Area School District and their leaders for their diligence in getting this process moving so quickly for us to get this done,” he told the Leader.
The vaccinations are coming just in time as the total number of cases in the city of Lake Mills has reached 611 since the start of the pandemic, according to the Jefferson County Health Department. Countywide there have been 5,688 positive cases, with 399 active cases and 85 deaths.
As of Jan. 13 Wisconsin, had received 435,900 vaccines and given 137,253 doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Lake Mills EMS reported their members have been receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, some received the vaccine through their employers, others were vaccinated last week through Aurora Summit, their medical control.
“The state EMS Association has been pushing to get EMS personnel who are not affiliated with a medical facility locations to get vaccinated,” said Tom Murphy, Lake Mills EMS president.
Members of the Lake Mills Fire Department also received their first dose of vaccine last week through the Jefferson County Health Department, according to Lake Mills Fire Chief Todd Yandre. They will receive the second dose of the vaccine in February.
Close to 80 staff members in the school district signed up to receive the vaccine. Olson said it shouldn’t take too many rounds of vaccine to give one to all the staff members who are interested.
“I think it’s going to help us as a school district with how we quarantine and manage things here,” she said.