Some York County schools to close while teachers receive the COVID-19 vaccine

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch
Pharmacist Dawn Gaudino, right, administers a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the arm of nurse Jessica Heckman at Cook's Pharmacy in Kingston, Pa., Tuesday Feb. 9, 2021. (Mark Moran/The Citizens' Voice via AP)

With hundreds of teachers expected to receive the COVID-19 vaccine over the next week, local school districts are taking different approaches on how to hold classes while staff members get vaccinated. 

At least three York County school districts announced changes to class schedules while employees receive the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Gov. Tom Wolf announced a plan last week to direct the new vaccines to educators, with the goal to grant all Pennsylvania school employees access to the vaccine by the end of March. 

Most York County educators will receive the vaccine at the Lincoln Intermediate Unit in New Oxford. Central York School District Human Resources Director Bobbi Billman previously said the first wave of the vaccine rollout, including about 94,000 doses across Pennsylvania, will be scheduled between last Thursday and this Friday. 

More:Lincoln Intermediate Unit to begin vaccinating teachers Thursday, Central York official says

More:York County school officials praise Wolf's vaccine rollout for teachers

The Dover Area School District announced that all schools will be closed Monday to allow district staff time to adjust to the vaccine. The announcement said 206 Dover staff members will be vaccinated on Saturday, and district officials were concerned that many would not be able to work Monday because of potential side effects.

Monday will not be a virtual learning day, according to the announcement, and students are not expected to complete school work that day. 

According to a letter from the York Suburban School District, roughly 9% of educators from a neighboring school district were unable to return to work the day after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. York Suburban scheduled 151 K-8 educators to receive the vaccine Sunday, so Monday will be a virtual learning day for all K-8 students. High school students will attend school as usual, according to the letter. 

The York City School District is taking a different approach. The district scheduled 245 staff members to be vaccinated Wednesday. 

York City's website announced that Wednesday through Friday would be "asynchronous learning days" as staff receive the vaccine. This means school buildings will be closed, but students will still complete independent assignments from home. 

At Central York School District, which was allotted 302 vaccine doses in the first wave of the rollout, only grades K-8 will be affected Tuesday and Wednesday. Wolf's rollout places higher priority on early education staff, so the district's high school staff will have an opportunity to receive the vaccine in the second wave, according to the district's website. 

Central York's K-8 staff are scheduled to receive the vaccine on Tuesday. K-6 students will be in class for the first half of the school day Tuesday, with early dismissal at 12:30 p.m. Seventh and eighth grade students also have a half day of remote learning, with dismissal at 11:30 a.m.

On Wednesday, all K-8 students have remote learning days. Students are expected to complete independent virtual assignments and will not participate in livestream sessions with their teachers. 

Other York County school districts have not revealed any plans to change class schedules on their website.