MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. — Muscle Shoals City Schools announced Friday that it would be holding another voluntary vaccine clinic for students and employees.
This is in response to new concerns over the delta variant and an increase in positive cases and hospitalizations.
Superintendent Chad Holden said the best weapon against another surge of cases is the readily available vaccine. He also commented on Alabama’s low vaccination rate when compared to the rest of the nation.
“We just want to give our students and staff every opportunity to take the vaccine should they want it,” Holden said. “We want to make it convenient and so we just felt like holding a third vaccine clinic, it’s voluntary, but holding a third vaccine clinic at our school would make it easy and convenient for our students and staff.”
The clinic will offer the Pfizer vaccine which has been approved for use in people ages 12 and older. A date for the clinic has not yet been set.
Read Superintendent Holden’s full letter below:
Dear Muscle Shoals City Schools families,
The start of school is around the corner, and we are excited to have everyone back on our campuses for the 2021-2022 school year. We are cautiously optimistic about what “the new normal” will look like as schools across the country reopen.
Since the pandemic began, we have continued to monitor the COVID-19 situation throughout the state and community. Local superintendents and lead nurses have kept an open line of communication with each other and local and state health officials.
As of late, the Delta variant has created a new level of concern as it seems to spread more easily and quickly than other variants. Headaches, sore throat, runny nose, and fever are the more common symptoms of the Delta variant. In contrast, symptoms like cough and loss of taste and smell aren’t as common with Delta.
Similar to what we saw this time last year, positive cases of COVID-19 are increasing. Hospitalizations have more than doubled in Alabama in the past two weeks. The ADPH risk indicator places Colbert County and most counties in Alabama in the “very high risk” category.
“At the rate of expansion that we’ve seen in just the last seven days, we could find ourselves with a thousand people in the hospital by the end of July,” said Dr. Don Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association.
ADPH will release updated guidance for schools in the coming weeks. Our team will review this information, taking into consideration the number of positive cases and hospitalizations, and update our reopening plans accordingly.
Our best weapon against another surge of coronavirus cases is the readily available vaccine. At 33.9% of the population fully vaccinated in our state, Alabama continues to lag behind the nation as a whole at 49.2% fully vaccinated.
The Pfizer vaccine is available to persons 12 years and older, with Moderna and Johnson & Johnson being available to those 18 years and older. The CDC and the ADPH recommend anyone ages 12 and up be vaccinated. While the vaccine is not a requirement to return to school, we ask that you please consult your physician and reliable sources to determine if the vaccine is right for you.
In accordance with current CDC guidelines, fully vaccinated people will not have to isolate if they are around someone who has tested positive with COVID-19 as long as they remain asymptomatic. In general, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or two weeks after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
In contrast and in accordance with the ADPH guidelines that have been in place for over a year now, unvaccinated people will have to isolate for 10 days if exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
To help those who have not been vaccinated but wish to do so, MSCS is currently working on organizing another VOLUNTARY vaccination clinic. This will be for the Pfizer vaccine that has been approved for ages 12 and up. Information regarding this clinic will be forthcoming.
All areas of our reopening plans will be reviewed and potentially updated over the next two weeks. We will release information regarding any changes to the current reopening plan as soon as possible. As always, these decisions will be made in consultation with health officials, our nursing staff, and other local system leaders.
Like I have said since this all started over one year ago, we thank you for your cooperation, flexibility, and understanding in all that we do to keep our students and staff safe and healthy.