Covid vaccine side-effects causing local schools to make back-up plans

Valley News Live – by Bailey Hurley

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) – After several teachers called out sick this morning due to the side effects from their second COVID-19 vaccine, the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton school district was forced to make today a distant learning day.

With 50 teachers able to get a covid vaccine at a time, DGF Superintendent Bryan Thygeson says as the district looked at the calendar, they knew Thursday’s doses could cause a problem for staff numbers on Friday.

“We’ve seen the effects of the second vaccination if you get a reaction. I had the same reaction. It’s like the 24-hour flu. You’re just incapacitated,” Thygeson said.

He says his staff were doing as much prep as they could this week, which paid off in the end after over 30 teachers called out Friday morning. Thygeson says not all absences were due to the second dose of the covid vaccine.

“We did all the things that we could in advance. The same kind of preparation that you do when you’re anticipating a storm,” Thygeson said.

While Northern Cass Schools are taking notes of DGF’s situation, Superintendent Cory Steiner says his district already doesn’t meet on Fridays, which makes it the perfect day to administer staff vaccines.

“there’s going to be some anxiety about the side effects. That way, they can get vaccinated and if they have to go home, they can go home and there’s no worry about missing anything. We don’t have to add another level of stress on top of what’s already going to be a stressful moment.”

Both Steiner and Thygeson say while their districts aren’t requiring their staff to get the vaccine, they do highly encourage it. Both say over 80 percent of their staff have signed up to or already have gotten their doses.

Thygeson says he’s confident this is the first and only time this kind of hiccup will happen, but says just in case, they’ve pushed back their full-time in-person learning date to March 15, which is when all staff who’ve signed up to get vaccinated, have.

“Why have vaccinations going on at the same time that you’re bringing the kids back and have another potential of having to say, ‘Hey we have to go distance one more day,’” Thygeson said.

Fargo, West Fargo and Grand Forks Public Schools say they have plans in place for individual classrooms or schools to go to distance learning for a day or two if needed, but say they doubt it will be necessary as all of their staff won’t be able to get vaccinated at once. All three districts also say while they aren’t requiring their staff get the vaccine, they have a large amount of staff signed up to get it.

North Dakota teachers have been told by health officials they will get their first vaccine by the end of March.

Fargo Public Schools says they have created priority groups within their staff members wanting to be vaccinated, in an effort to decide who will get the first doses once available. FPS says in the first tier is those who work with students with mask exemptions, second are those who work directly with students and last are those in the district who don’t work with students directly.

Grand Forks and West Fargo schools say they have similar tier systems in place.

Grand Forks Public Schools tells Valley News Live, like Northern Cass, they are hoping to be able to get a special time for staff vaccinations, preferably on a Friday or Saturday. That way, GFPS says the side effects of the vaccine have time to subside and it doesn’t impact staff numbers.

Copyright 2021 KVLY. All rights reserved.

Valley News Live

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