Doug Wozniak, the district’s director of school safety and health services, said the district has managed to increase its number of vaccinated staff.
“We have over 1,000 employees vaccinated currently and we’re sitting at about 82%. So that’s a real point of celebration right there,” Wozniak said.
As previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper, SMCISD implemented a $250 vaccine stipend prior to the school year beginning to incentivize staff to get vaccinated.
A program to encourage students to provide proof of vaccination to enter a drawing has proved less effective, Wozniak said. The district created a drawing where up to 20 students could win an Apple Watch. The district also sought out students 12 years old and up that want to get vaccinated at school and sent them home with permission forms for their parents to participate in vaccine clinics at school. About 80 students showed interest and only 16 forms were returned.
“Our nurse Diana Eastwood actually went and found some more kiddos that tried to sign up but didn't really get it done. What happened was, it wasn't obviously as successful as we wanted to, we had just a lot of issues with people bringing back the consent form,” Wozniak said.
Another COVID-19-related measure the district implemented was asymptomatic testing of students and staff, and the first set of data was available to present.
In the first two weeks of asymptomatic PCR testing, out of 379 tests, one student tested positive. As of Oct. 18, there were 13 active student cases and two active staff cases in the district.
“Last week, no individuals tested positive and one did this week. So as [testing] will continue to pick up steam, you see the numbers continue to grow as people see it and realize it's not a big deal. They get comfortable knowing that it's not a painful process at all. It's a very simple nasal swab, and the campuses will continue to push that out,” Wozniak said.