School employees in Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts take first dose of COVID-19 vaccine


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The Berglund Center kicked off one of the biggest vaccine distributions in the area, which will total 6,000 by Sunday night.

The Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts stepped up to help school employees — approximately 2,000 — get their first dose on Friday, Jan. 22.

Anne Simmons, a counselor for James River High School in Botetourt County, said she was thinking of her family and her students when she signed up to take the vaccine.

“I hope that they realize that all of their teachers are doing this for them and to hopefully get them back in school and get things back to normal which is what we all need.”

Dr. Jonathan Russ, Superintendent of Botetourt County Public Schools, explained he was happy to volunteer as a greeter as school employees came in Friday.

“They’re servant leaders too,” Dr. Russ said, “so there is not a job that is above me.”

Dr. Russ says about 70% of the teachers in his district decided to get the vaccine this weekend.

“Our teachers, their response to the survey, and to the opportunity to get the vaccine I think shows the importance.”

Dr. Jonathan Russ, Superintendent of Botetourt County Public Schools

Fellow Superintendent of Roanoke County Public Schools, Dr. Ken Nicely, said almost 80% signed up in his district.

“The more of our staff that are vaccinated, it puts us in a position as a school system to offer more opportunity for students to get back in,” Dr. Nicely said.

Simmons said this year has been enough motivation for her to want to take the vaccine.

“We’ve adjusted the best we can, but it’s not the same and you know we miss being with our students and having everybody back in the building.”

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