PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The Palm Beach County School Board is scheduled to vote today on a partnership with the Health Care District of Palm Beach County to set up vaccination sites on school property around the county.
The goal is to get as many people, especially students 12 and older, vaccinated as possible.
If approved, district leaders say the vaccination sites would be up and running this month and would continue until the weekend before school starts in August.
The four locations include:
- Fulton-Holland Educational Services Center- 3300 Forest Hill Boulevard, West Palm Beach
- Mary & Robert Pew Center- 9482 Mac Arthur Boulevard, Palm Beach Gardens
- West Tech Educational Center- 2625 NW 16th Street, Belle Glade
- Safe Schools Institute- 1790 Spanish River Boulevard, Boca Raton
The Health Care District of Palm Beach County would set up a vaccination unit in the parking lot at those locations. Vaccines would be available to students, their families and community members.
During a school district health advisory committee meeting last week, Palm Beach County Health Director Dr. Alina Alonso said she plans to work with athletic coaches to help encourage student athletes to get vaccinated. She says sports teams were the only source of student COVID outbreaks this school year.
"That's your biggest problem because that's where you are congregating and playing together, football, basketball, volleyball, all of these have been huge outbreaks we've had with the COVID so I'm hoping to be able to get to those to help vaccinate more of these kids," Dr. Alonso said. "The coaches have a lot of influence on these children so I'm hoping they can get them vaccinated."
Alonso also said vaccinations will impact how many students and staff are quarantined if a positive COVID case is detected. She said it will be up to the health department to do the contact tracing and determine who is vaccinated and therefore does not have to quarantine.
"If I were a single mother not wanting to take my kid home, I would make sure they are either vaccinated or wearing a mask, because I don't want to go pick them up from school, and I definitely don't want him to stay home and me have to take work off," she told the committee. "You are going to have to adapt to a lot more people being quarantined if they are not vaccinated. We will know who is vaccinated through the health department, we can look it up in our Florida Shots to see who is vaccinated and who is not. If you are not vaccinated or we can't find your vaccination, you are going to have to quarantine."
District leaders say a little more than 50% of district employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 at this time.
The school board will meet late Wednesday afternoon to vote on the proposal.