Thousands Of JCPS Educators Vaccinated On First Day Of Eligibility

On the first day that the COVID-19 vaccine was available to all educators in North Carolina, more than 2,000 Johnston County Public Schools employees received their first-round dose at a drive-through clinic.

The drive-through clinic, located at North Johnston High School near Kenly, was a coordinated effort between JCPS, the Johnston County Public Health Department, Johnston County Emergency Services, the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office, and the National Guard.

West Johnston High teacher Eddie Poplin (left) receives the first round of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a drive-through vaccination clinic at North Johnston High from JCPS school nurse Crystal Glandon (right).

The district had approximately 2,109 employees pre-register for the vaccination event, which ran from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 24. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine that was administered at the event was allotted by the state.

“This is such a great event. It ran so smoothly and efficiently,” said West Clayton Elementary teacher Samantha Lam. “I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to receive the vaccine as a teacher so that I can be better protected.”

According to JCPS Area Assistant Superintendent Dr. David A. Pearce, it took a great deal of planning between the multiple agencies to facilitate administering the vaccine on such a large scale. Thanks to the coordinated effort, approximately 300 educators were vaccinated every hour.

Archer Lodge Middle teacher Tyler Daughtry (left) answers pre-registration questions from JCPS school nurses Dawn Olive (center) and Susan Stem (right).

“We are so grateful for all of the hard work shown by our county partners,” said Pearce. “Today’s event went better than any of us could have hoped for.”

All JCPS employees were given the opportunity in January to express their interest in receiving the vaccine. Those employees were then contacted earlier this month to pre-register for Wednesday’s event.

The district utilized the expertise of its school nurses to help administer the vaccine to JCPS staff. There were also dozens of volunteers from throughout the school system who lent their time and skillset to make the clinic possible.

West Clayton Elementary teacher Samantha Lam (center) prepares to receive the first round of the COVID-19 vaccine. Administering the vaccine are Samantha Vander Wiele (left) and Cecilia Esparza (right) with the Johnston County Public Health Department.

“We have an exceptional group of school nurses and student services staff who continue to go above and beyond the call of duty,” said Executive Director of Social and Emotional Learning Dr. Amanda Allen. “Everyone in Johnston County Public Schools has worked tirelessly to make our schools as safe as possible during these unprecedented times.”

All JCPS staff who received the vaccine at the drive-through clinic are expected to return to North Johnston High for their second dose at a similar event near the end of March.

“We are so thankful that so many of our staff members showed up today to receive their dose of the vaccine,” said Pearce. “You could tell from the smiles behind their masks that everyone was grateful for this opportunity, and everyone who planned the event appreciates their patience and participation today.”

Hundreds of Johnston County Public Schools employees line-up at a drive-through vaccination clinic at North Johnston High School on Wednesday, Feb. 24.