First wave of school district employees get vaccinated

Posted at 1:01 PM, Mar 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-06 19:02:09-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - More than 7,000 school employees got coronavirus vaccines at clinics throughout the Omaha metro on Saturday.

Educators are feeling light-hearted at the chance to get their shot of coronavirus relief.

"To walk into the clinic right now, you would see lots of smiles, lots of people with hope, with optimism. It feels a little bit like a party in there," Superintendent Andy Rikli of Papillion La Vista Community Schools said.

It is a welcome feeling to have after a challenging year.

"It was really scary. Starting the school year, there was a ton of uncertainty. None of our public schools anywhere in the country have opened and operated continuously during a worldwide pandemic. There is no playbook on how to do this," Rikli said.

Rikli says the district took a leap of faith to keep schools open.

"It's been a long 12 months and we really feel like hopefully, we're turning the corner," Rikli said.

Fourth grade teacher Garrett O'Dell is already envisioning life after the pandemic.

"Finally being able to get back to possibly hoping in the future, not being able to wear masks, because a lot of the kids rely on the smile. Some of the smiles you can't see with that mask on," O'Dell said.

With a fourth quarter left in the school year, O'Dell is equipped to finish strong. Still, he promises to never take normal for granted ever again.

"For them, being able to see our faces, being able to know from their face, so we say it in our tones," O'Dell said. "Those expressions really help make a difference and really help make a stronger connection and bond."

Hear more about the clinics from Millard head nurse Katie Kintzle in the video below. Millard hosted one of the clinics on Saturday.

RAW VIDEO: Millard's head nurse on COVID vaccine

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