Hundreds of school staff get their shots

Mar 1, 2021

KPBSD students and staff returned to their classrooms in January. Alaska teachers and support staff became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine a month later.
Credit Sabine Poux/KDLL

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District vaccinated over 300 educators and support staff against COVID-19 Friday at clinics across the peninsula. 

Mountain View Elementary Principal Karl Kircher got his first dose at the Soldotna clinic. He was really excited about it.

“I know in general, teachers want to get back to normal," he said. "We’re looking at getting back to normalcy here at school. And one way that can be helpful is if we are all vaccinated."

He said teachers and students have been good about following COVID-19 mitigation protocols and things have been running more smoothly than expected this year. Short staffing, for example, was a big problem in the fall, since staff had to take time off to quarantine when they were exposed to the virus. That hasn’t been as much of a problem this year, Kircher said. 

It’s hard to know how many teachers and staff who want the vaccine are still waiting to get their first dose. But it does seem that those who want to get vaccinated have already booked appointments. Monday afternoon, there were almost 200 slots open between upcoming clinics in Kenai and Soldotna.

"There were people who took advantage of going to a doctor or going to other clinics that opened up when they had other openings," said KPBSD Director of Communications Pegge Erkeneff. "So I would estimate we have many hundred staff now, at this point."

Bud Sexton with the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management says the state plans to open the next eligibility tier later this week. The tier includes all people above 55, frontline essential workers and people 40 and above with high-risk medical conditions, and people who live in multigenerational homes.

For details about eligibility and open appointments, visit covidvax.alaska.gov.