Schools in central Arkansas begin offering COVID-19 vaccine clinics for students

“We made sure our staff were able to get the vaccine and we want to make sure our students are able to do the same.”

BENTON, Ark. — Vaccine eligibility for Arkansans 16 and older has been open for over two weeks. 

Now, many schools are starting to set up clinics for their students to easily get the shot.

Similar to how we saw teachers get vaccinated, school districts are starting to do the same with their students 16 and older. 

Hot Springs School District Superintendent, Dr. Stephanie Nehus, said they want to protect as many of their students as possible, so holding it in familiar spots is key.

“At this point, to reach the masses we have to meet them where they are and have it somewhere they’re comfortable,” she said.

It can’t get much more comfortable than getting the shot inside the building students spend eight hours of their day in.

School districts across central Arkansas, like Hot Springs, are making plans to get those 16 and older that protection in a convenient way, according to Nehus.

“I believe that we have to show our community that we support this process, that we trust the science behind this process,” she said.

On Thursday, April 15, Hot Springs School District held a vaccine clinic at their high school gym.

According to Nehus, they sent out a survey asking if students would be interested. One hundred people responded with “yes” and they ended up vaccinating 54.

“Obviously, I wish all 100 that had responded would’ve been there to do that, but 54, that’s a good number and a great start for us,” she said.

Over in Benton, Spokesperson Isabella Bradley said students will come to Benton High School on Saturday, April 17 and get their COVID-19 vaccine inside the cafeteria.

“We always made it our top priority that our staff and our students were safe and healthy and this is just one other way we can continue to do so,” she said.

According to Bradley, when the school district sent out a survey for their student vaccine clinic they got about 300 “yes’.”

“We’re fully prepared that some people might sign up and decide last minute not to get it and that’s okay. We at least want to be able to give them the option,” she said.

Both Hot Springs and Benton school districts added this won’t be the end of opportunities for students. 

They will continue to send out surveys and set up clinics, especially when the Pfizer shot becomes available for those 12 and older. 

“At the end of the day, it all goes back to that we want to make sure that our parents and our community know we want to keep our students safe,” Bradley said.

Several other school districts are in the early stages of setting up clinics of their own. 

These include Little Rock, North Little Rock, Cabot, and the Pulaski County Special School District.