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DCBOE applies to be vaccination provider

Thursday, January 21, The Decatur County Board of Education held their monthly meeting, where Superintendent Tim Cochran informed the Board, the Decatur County School system has applied with the Department of Public Health to be a COVID-19 vaccine provider.

Cochran explained this provider status would allow for the vaccinations to be shipped directly to the Board of Education, where nurses from the school system would be authorized to administer the vaccination to faculty.

“The whole point of applying for provider status is so we don’t have to wait on someone else,” Cochran said. “We will be able to serve our teachers quicker and more efficiently.”

Cochran said the vaccination will not be required or mandated for teachers and faculty, but he knows there are many teachers who have inquired about the vaccination and this would allow the DCBOE to help them.

“Our primary goal is to take care of our staff,” Cochran said.

Cochran said he sent in the application to the state Department of Health the first week of January and was told he would receive an answer within 72 hours. However, he still has not heard back. He said he knows the DPH is overwhelmed with requests and hopes to hear from them soon.

The local DPH has informed Cochran the DCBOE should qualify to be a provider and Dr. Kathleen E. Toomey, MD echoed they should as well.

While Cochran said they have not been approved yet, he anticipates if approved it will be the middle of February when Phase 2 begins and educators are eligible for the vaccination.

Cochran also has a plan in place with the local DPH and Memorial Hospital and Manor to work with them in the event the DCBOE is not approved as a vaccination provider.

While waiting to hear approval, Cochran is still encouraging mask wearing at every school. However, he recently attended a conference in Atlanta with the Governor’s Office and Department of Public Health, where he was presented data from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, stating kids are not really transmitting the disease.
“Schools are not contributing; they are not a reflection of the community spread,” Cochran read from the report. “Schools are not hotspots.”

Regardless, Cochran feels the vaccination will put staff members and the community at ease.