EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The Texas Department of State Health Services has designated the El Paso Independent School District as a COVID-19 vaccine provider making it the third district in the area to receive the designation.
EPISD joins Ysleta ISD and Socorro ISD with the designation, which is part of a state effort to increase the number of educators in the region who are vaccinated against the virus. “I decided to come get my shot because since we have been back in the building with students there is always that little bit of stress in the back of your mind,” said Western Hill teacher Danielle Coppinger adding, “of getting sick and passing it along to your family.”
EPISD is now just waiting for available vaccines to provide them to employees, according to the district. The district is partnering with The Hospitals of Providence, the city of El Paso, UTEP, and UMC-El Paso to provide their employees the vaccine. Thursday dozens of teachers showed up at The Hospitals of Providence for their first doses. The process streamlined and efficient for both providers and school employees. “My appointment was actually at 2:40, they came and let me in early and in and out,” said Tippin Elementary School teacher Summer Steele. “It’s a very smooth process and it puts me at ease knowing that I am protected, the staff that I work with is protected, and my family at home is protected which is very important, ” Steele added.
“EPISD has worked diligently to make sure our employees have access to safe and secure learning
and work environments,” said Interim Superintendent Vince Sheffield. “The designation as a vaccine provider gives us an additional level of support for our teachers and employees and it will accelerate our efforts to get a shot of the vaccine in the arms of any employee who wishes to get one.”
All three major districts are registering their employees through their own district portals and provide appointments as vaccine supplies are delivered. So far EPISD has vaccinated about 3,000 of its 8,000 employees. As of Tuesday of this week, YISD had provided vaccines for 2,500 of its 6,000 employees with a goal of getting all interested parties vaccinated by the end of the month. SISD will be administering the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to about 100 staff members on Saturday, March 13 at their location.
During a meeting of Region 19 superintendents earlier this week, EPISD and YISD agreed to share resources with other regional school districts as soon as vaccines arrive. SISD has also partnered with Immunize El Paso to hold drive-through vaccination drives for their employees at the police services facility. All three districts are helping other smaller area school districts in getting all school staff fully vaccinated.
“EPISD stands ready to help school district essential employees.” Sheffield said.