Teachers take shots

Photo by Macy Maynard
A teacher receives her COVID-19 vaccine in the Sullivan Performing Arts Center. About 275 staff members received the one-time Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Story by Macy Maynard, staff writer

TISD, along with the Bowie County Health Department, held a vaccination clinic for employees Wednesday at the Sullivan Performing Arts Center.  

“When [the state] made it available [to teachers], TISD just moved into action and made it happen for their people,” Principal Carla Dupree said. “I think it shows how much we value our teachers and our educators.”

Employees were allowed to sign up for times between 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. About 275 staff members received the one-time Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

In order to determine how many employees were interested in receiving the vaccine, a survey was conducted. Around 200 staff members indicated they had already received the vaccine through another location.

“We’re very excited about this,” Director of Human Resources Amy Nix said. “We had a really good response from the staff when we initially surveyed to see who was interested in a vaccine, and then an even better response when we found out we were going to actually have them on site on a work day.” 

It’s a tremendous service to keep our teachers healthy.”

— Julie Suelzer, engineering teacher

Many teachers also expressed their excitement about the opportunity.

“I think it’s fantastic,” engineering teacher Julie Suelzer said. “Having teachers out in quarantine is really, really detrimental to the students. So, it’s awesome. I’m stoked.”

Officials hope as employees get vaccinated, there will be fewer quarantines to take teachers out of the classroom.

“I think it will definitely help keep people at work, keep people in the classrooms and hopefully avoid absences due to COVID,” Nix said. “We know that once you’re fully vaccinated, you avoid quarantine times if you’re exposed, so it will help keep people at work so they don’t quarantine as well.”  

While deciding to get the vaccine is a personal choice, Dupree said she hoped everyone would consider it.

“I went to Leadership Texarkana yesterday, and the focus was on health care. Every health care physician, nurse that talked to us talked about the importance of it,” Dupree said. “We want to stamp this horrible virus out. This is how we need to do it.”