Hamilton County School Employees Receive COVID Vaccine; Johnson Calls For Extended Efforts To Close Learning Gaps

Chattanooga, Tennessee At Night

Photo Credit: Hamilton County Schools / YouTube

Published March 2, 2021

Hamilton County, TN – On Saturday, February 27, many Hamilton County School employees received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine due to the recent Phase Update by the Hamilton County Health Department on February 22nd. 

Superintendent of Hamilton County Schools, Dr. Bryan Johnson said, “Saturday was a monumental day as many of our Hamilton County Schools Employees received the much-anticipated vaccine.” 

COVID-19 vaccine eligibility was expanded to Phase 1B and Adults 65+ on Monday, February 22d. 

Phase 1B includes: 

• Childcare, pre-school, and kindergarten through twelfth grade teachers 

• School staff 

• School bus drivers 

•  Other first responders (including dispatch, administrative personnel and other emergency communications personnel not included in Phase 1a1) 

Hamilton County Schools state that due to the increased access to voluntary vaccinations for teachers and their collective commitment to the SAFE Pledge, they will be able to retire the COVID-19 Phase Tracker around mid-March and make school-specific decisions related to COVID-19 case data.  

As of March 2nd, Hamilton County Schools are in Phase 3 on the HCS Phase Tracker with 1,051 Active COVID-19 cases (5-day average). 

In Phase 3, all students are permitted to be on campus, while some campuses may still be hybrid or on remote-learning. 

HCS at Home students will continue to follow a full-time remote learning schedule. 

According to the Phase Tracker, the number of Active COVID-19 cases will need to drop to 370 or less before all students will be on campus. 

Superintendent Johnson states that there has been much talk, both Nationally and Statewide, about Summer programming and extended learning opportunities into the next school year but wants the focus to be on maximizing the present. 

With only 24 learning days left before Spring Break, Johnson says, “We have to continue to approach each day with urgency and to focus on closing as many gaps as possible.” 

“To be clear, we are continuing to plan for the days beyond this stretch but our most pressing focus is on the right now,” Johnson said. 

Johnson stated that the teachers and staff will be “focused on winning in the classroom” and he called on families in the community to follow up on homework, missed assignments and to reinforce the learning of the day. 

“Let’s continue to trust the process that made us the fastest improved District in Tennessee,” Johnson said. 

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