Gilbert Public Schools secures vaccination distribution event for staff, Higley USD

Shane McCord
Gilbert Public Schools Superintendent Shane McCord discusses at the GPS governing board meeting Jan. 26 the vaccination point of distribution that GPS will hold in partnership with Higley USD, Queen Creek USD and other entities. (Screen shot from YouTube)

Gilbert Public Schools Superintendent Shane McCord discusses at the GPS governing board meeting Jan. 26 the vaccination point of distribution that GPS will hold in partnership with Higley USD, Queen Creek USD and other entities. (Screen shot from YouTube)

Gilbert Public Schools has secured a closed COVID-19 vaccination point of distribution, or POD, that will serve district employees and those from the Higley and Queen Creek school districts.

Also served will be staff from charter and private schools and child care facilities in GPS’ footprint, Superintendent Shane McCord told the governing board at its Jan. 26 meeting.

The POD will be at Highland High School from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 13-14. Links for signup will be sent to staff Feb. 5. Albertsons/Safeway Pharmacy will work the POD.

McCord said a followup POD will be held in March for second doses of the vaccine.

Board Member Lori Wood expressed thanks that teachers are able to get the vaccine.

“I’m thankful they can have it and they have those opportunities, that they’ve made it available to our teachers knowing how important it is for students and teachers to be in school,” she said.

Board Member Reed Carr credited Health Services Director Jennefer Frost for her efforts to secure the POD for the district and its neighbors.

Wood and McCord noted that the city of Mesa and Mesa Public Schools has a POD going on that workers from GPS schools located in Mesa have been allowed to utilize for receiving vaccinations.

The board heard that news just after a review of the state and county benchmarks that all show high risk of community transmission at present, with most benchmarks still trending upward.

However, the board did not revise its previous decision from Jan. 4 to end its hybrid learning mode Jan. 29 and return to in-person instruction starting Feb. 1.

Board President Charles Santa Cruz did read a personal statement that expressed concern about returning to in-person instruction next week.

“My assessment of the data and the information at this point in time leads me to conclude that this action is premature,” he said.

Santa Cruz acknowledged that the data is conflicting and can lead people to draw different conclusions, and he said he would embrace a correct answer if there was one. He also said he would respect the board vote from Jan. 4.

The board received 91 online comments for the record that were overwhelmingly wanting to wait more before returning to in-person instruction. Three of the five people who appeared in person to speak to the board also wanted to wait.
By Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


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