Madison teachers receive COVID-19 vaccine, preparing to welcome students back in-person

Published: Mar. 12, 2021 at 5:38 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 12, 2021 at 6:29 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - One year after Gov. Tony Evers ordered all K-12 schools to to close in response to COVID-19, hundreds of Madison Metropolitan School District staff returned to La Follette High School to get a dose of the vaccine.

MMSD, in partnership with SSM Health, hosted a mass vaccination clinic at the high school Friday, one day after the district announced a plan for students to learn in-person for the first time since the shut down. Throughout the day, more than 800 staff members received their first doses.

La Follette High School Principal Devon LaRosa, who has been tasked with re-imagining what school looks like throughout this school year, said he is ready to bring students back to the classroom to finish out the year.

“We are going to be able to do things differently, give focus to students who need more attention, need more support that’s different than in zoom,” LaRosa said.

On Thursday, MMSD released a phased plan outlining how all grades will return in some capacity to in-person learning by the end of April.

After receiving his first dose, James Reichling, a physics teacher at La Follette High School, said educators have been hoping for a safe return for a long time.

“We don’t know how the hybrid scheduling and things will all play out, so I think that we are still learning about all of those things, but I think we are taking the right steps so far,” Reichling said.

Tom Theisen, a special education teacher at La Follette, also said he was cautiously optimistic about the return.

“I’m looking forward to students coming back, I’m just a little bit concerned with just the time of planning for all this transition- from what we are doing now, to what we will do for the last six to eight weeks of the year, to what will be in the fall,” Theisen said.

LaRosa said he is ready to end the year much different than how it started.

“Getting kids back in the building is going to be a big win, and we are going to be able to do things differently- give focus to students who need more attention, need more support that’s different than in zoom,” he said.

District officials said, between the clinic offered and Public Health Madison Dane Co. offering vaccinations at the Alliant Energy Center, all MMSD staff members who want a vaccine have the opportunity to receive one.

Anyone who is currently eligible can sign up on this form to schedule an appointment at the Alliant Energy Center with PHMDC.

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