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Douglas County educators to begin receiving vaccines this week

Posted at 10:41 AM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 11:42:12-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Douglas County Health Department Director Dr. Adi Pour announced the health department will start vaccinating Douglas County educators this week.

She said appointments will be available Wednesday and Thursday at a site in Millard and on Saturday at Creighton University

In her final year of teaching, Mrs. Peggy Kalal has done a lot of adapting.

From remote learning to masks and plexiglass barriers, Kalal said this chapter has been the most challenging in her 34 years of experience.

"I held it together until I would get home and then of course that's when the tears or frustrations would be able to be freely said at home. But during the day, I carried on. This is what we have to do. We are doing it. The kids are learning. I’m teaching. We can do this," said Kalal.

Not only has Kalal been caring for her students. She has a family to look after as well.

"I’m fearful for my life, I really am. My husband’s retired. He's at home. He's 62. We have elderly parents that we are taking care of. We are keeping our distance. We are not visiting," said Kalal.

After nearly a year of stress at home and in the classroom, there was finally a sigh of relief when the Douglas County Health Department announced educators were next in line to be vaccinated.

Brandi Paul, a spokeswoman for Westside Community Schools said Kalal, along with 55 other district employees, will receive their shots this weekend.

"We are so excited that we now have that opportunity to keep our educators safe. Not only is their health and well-being extremely important to us, but we want to keep our schools open,” said Paul.

Paul adds it's a two-tier system.

Tier one is for teachers and staff that work directly with students on a daily basis, and tier two is for all other employees.

For Kalal, it's not how she imagined her final year in teaching, but she looks forward to ending her career vaccinated and in the classroom with her students.

"We keep ourselves safe in spite of what's going on, but learning is at the forefront. We are able to learn. I’m able to teach. We are able to carry on,” said Kalal.

In the last 14 days, the Douglas County Health Department has reported 118 cases of COVID-19 in K-12 schools.

That breaks down to 38 staff and 80 students. On top of those numbers, 473 others are out, self-monitoring.

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