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The City Journals

School district pairs with county to offer students, families, community Covid-19 vaccine

Oct 05, 2021 09:37AM ● By Lizzie Walie

The Salt Lake City School District has brought vaccination opportunities to many of their back-to-school events. (Photo courtesy of Salt Lake City School District)

By Lizzie Walje |[email protected]

While the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic saw children and parents grappling with the challenges of virtual learning, the push to return to school has proven to be just as challenging, albeit for different reasons. Debates and testimonies surrounding everything from mask mandates to vaccination requirements have gone viral online, causing divided lines.

Despite the uproar, Salt Lake City School District has doubled down on their Covid-19 messaging, going as far as to partner with Salt Lake County to implement vaccine opportunities and pop-up clinics for students, their families, and community members, during their back-to- school programming. Furthermore, the district has crafted a 2021-22 Covid-19 mitigation plan, piggybacking off of Mayor Erin Mendenhall’s ordered mask mandate in K-12 Salt Lake City schools. According to the memo, “until further notice, masks and face coverings must be worn by all students, parents, visitors, and Salt Lake City School District employees.” Mask exemptions are considered on a case by case basis and require permission from the individual student’s principal. 

Many of the district’s guidelines mirror those provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urging for mask wearing, social distancing, and self-quarantining when students come in contact with a Covid-19 positive individual. It remains a main goal of the district to encourage students and their families to receive the Covid-19 vaccination. While the district has seen large success in partnering with the Utah Department of Health and Salt Lake County Health Department, there are still adverse forces at play that keep individuals from receiving the vaccine. 

According to the coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine statistics data, in Utah, a total of 3.47 million doses have been given to 1.5 million individuals. As of September 2021, 49.9% of Utah’s population is vaccinated. While data consistently compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the vaccine is effective in mitigating Covid’s worst symptoms and preventing hospitalizations, many individuals have cited instances of people testing positive after receiving the vaccine as evidence it is ineffective. Moreover, many United States residents were initially wary of receiving the vaccine due to its expedited release. However, even after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, popular anti-vaccination rhetoric continues to dissuade adults from receiving the vaccine. 

While these conversations are occurring locally and nationally, the Salt Lake City School District has remained steadfast in their approach stating recently via Facebook that “the Covid vaccine is an essential part of our plan to keep our students and employees safe and healthy. Don’t miss your chance to get vaccinated.” These pop-up clinics make it easy for members of the community ages 12-plus to get the vaccine and in some cases, access to free, new coats and shoes for children while supplies last. 

If you or your children ages 12 and older have yet to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, Salt Lake City School District has made it safe and easy to do so. To clarify, you do not need to be a student or parent of a student in the district to receive the vaccine. As part of the county’s community outreach initiatives, all who are eligible to receive the vaccine can do so at the pop-up clinics. The Salt Lake City School District website and Facebook page both regularly announce clinic locations.

To find out the time, date, and location of the next planned vaccination clinic, in addition to information about where you can receive free Covid-19 testing, visit: www.slcschools.org/resources/covid-19-and-schools/high-school-vaccination-clinics 

If you’d like more information regarding the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness, the above link will also provide you with Covid-19 vaccination information compiled from reputable sources both nationally and locally.