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Finney County educators and school staff get vaccinated

Coronavirus in Kansas

FINNEY COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Finney County educational staff received their first round of COVID vaccines Thursday and Friday. The vaccinations took place at the county’s mass vaccination clinic at the Finney County Fairgrounds exhibition building.

The chance to get vaccinated stemmed from a community collaboration between the county, the local health community, and surrounding schools.

“It’s so exciting to be able to collaborate with our community partners and offer vaccinations for all of the school employees here. We’re very excited to do this outreach for our community,” said Colleen Drees, Finney County Health Department Director.

All staff from Garden City Public Schools, Holcomb Schools, Garden City Community College, and surrounding parochial school districts were given the opportunity to get vaccinated if wanted.

At Garden City Public Schools, the district recently surveyed its staff, and of the approximately 1,100 who responded, nearly 50% wanted to be vaccinated. “The vaccine is just one more step towards hopefully this all going away. So I’m very excited,” said Melinda Stewart, Principal for Jennie Wilson Elementary. “I want to play my part and do what I can for the community and for my school.”

Nearly 800 total shots were given throughout the two-day period, with 500 of the doses going in the arms of teachers and staff for Garden City Public Schools.

“We’re protecting not only our staff, but our students as well, and just keeping us in school and in face-to-face instruction,” said Roy Cessna, Public Information Coordinator for Garden City Public Schools. “This is just another tool that we have to keep everyone safe.”

Currently, Garden City Public Schools remain at a moderate operational level with students learning face-to-face but with enhanced safety measures. As for the county, its COVID positivity rate sits at 11% and officials are working through various tiers of its phase two vaccination plan.

“We’re administering vaccines as soon as we get the supply in from the state. We’re very excited for this opportunity to reach out and provide for the community,” said Drees.

Drees says the vaccination process has been going smoothly. At this point, county healthcare workers have vaccinated more than 4,000 people in the community and estimate to have more than 5,000 people vaccinated by next week.

For more information on vaccinations in Finney County, click here.

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