Vaccination clinics held over summer

COVID-19 shots offered to community members


Statistics as of Sept. 23

Emme McLean, Managing Editor

During the previous school year, LT implemented a “hybrid” bell schedule allowing students to stay home/come in-person by discretion while still offering online attendance to fully remote students. With the vaccine not readily available to all teenagers, it was nearly impossible for the LT administration to enforce any sort of in-person attendance.

 It wasn’t until mid-May when U.S. regulators authorized the Pfizer vaccine for children as young as 12 that LT took action to support the vaccine by hosting free vaccination clinics using the field house at both campuses. 

“I think the clinics are very helpful since they offer easy access to everyone who wants to get vaccinated, and who are unable to schedule an appointment elsewhere,” Julia Donahue ‘22 said. 

LT worked closely with an insider contact at Jewel Osco to coordinate the administration of the Pfizer vaccine. Jewel Osco provided most of the prep work and medical professionals, while LT recruited volunteers for organizational purposes and hosted the event. Altogether, they held a total of six clinics for the first and second doses: May 4 (first dosage) and May 25 (second dosage), June 7 (first dosage) and June 21 (second dosage), and finally Aug. 4 (first dosage) and Aug. 25 (second dosage), Superintendent Brian Waterman said. 

“For me it feels like we are all doing our part to get back to normal so I question why people are still hesitant to get vaccinated now that it is FDA approved,” Donahue said. “ It’s upsetting because I’m doing everything I can to get my normal life back and it’s even offered for free at school but some people still choose to not get vaccinated.”

 LT has been using webinars and social media to promote the benefits of getting vaccinated in an attempt to reach the screens of students and staff, Waterman said. At a local level, LT will never be able to require a vaccine unless the state health department says otherwise. Based on the submission of vaccination cards, LT approximates that 90% of the faculty and administration are fully vaccinated, while only about 50% of the student population is fully covered, as of Sept. 1. 

“I will just say that by talking to Dr. Jennifer Tyrell and the leadership team, they are really impressed with our students in terms of complying with the mask mandate,” Waterman said.

For all students vaccinated or not, the school enforces safe social distancing and mask wearing practices while also providing point-in-care testing kits through the nurse, Waterman said. 

They are currently in the process of implementing optional SHIELD, a COVID-19 saliva test used throughout the state, to be implemented in October. 

“We have a couple of mitigation factors [to protect in-person students], obviously promoting the vaccine, adhering to the mask mandate, and adhering to social distancing when we can.” Waterman said. “We’re not going to do that at the expense of in-person learning but we’re going to try to do what we can to keep students three feet apart.”

As we enter into another school year with two new variants, the future is still uncertain, Donahue said. 

“I really do not want the school to have to shut down again but part of me knows that people are still contracting COVID-19 regardless of their vaccination status,” Donahue said. “But at least the vaccine offers some protection against the most severe side effects and death.”