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Teachers In Wealthier School Districts Have Big Leg Up In COVID-19 Vaccine Access

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The vast majority of educators in Illinois can't get their hands on COVID-19 vaccine – but some can.

And as CBS2's Chris Tye found out Tuesday, the more affluent the school, the more likely the teacher is getting the shot.

Most teachers in our area are playing the same lottery as everyone else - hoping to get the shot. But those at schools with wealth and privilege have a big leg up to get that coveted shot in the arm.

"I sort of liken it to little bit of 'The Lord of The Flies,' right?" said LaGrange School District 102 Supt. Kyle Schumacker. "It's just, how can you get it?"

The superintendent said supply and demand isn't just a theory in a textbook this year.

"My colleagues and I are all out basically trying to chase down every lead that we can to try to set something up," Schumacker said.

District-wide vaccinations are rare, but not impossible.

Deerfield schools were proud to announce a partnership with hometown pharmacy giant Walgreens. Shots for staff begin Friday.

Francis W. Parker school in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, which charges $34,000 for first grade, also secured vaccine.

The Chicago Teachers Union obtained a letter from Francis Parker, which said the school "partnered with a local health care provider who has indicated they will have sufficient vaccine to accommodate all Parker employees."

Appointments began Monday night.

Parker did not return our calls Tuesday.

"I think it's been a who-you-know and timing right now," Schumacker said.

If privilege, not consistency, drives this bus for schools, experts say it could erode trust.

"A coherent plan that is consistent from county to county and does create inequity or confusion is only going to build trust in the vaccination process," said Lockport Township High School District Supt. Robert McBride.

Chicago Public Schools expect mid-February staff vaccinations at school sites.

Catholic school leaders told us they are "...working hard to find access points for our school staff for vaccinations" and "...hope to begin in mid-February."

From LaGrange to Lockport, suburban districts waiting on county health departments.

"Is the vaccine going to the areas in the state and the counties in the state where you see the greatest need, the highest COVID numbers, the least in person learning - and also probably the greatest diversity?" McBride said. "Are those communities getting vaccinated so you can get kids back to school."

Experts said the inconsistencies from county to county is also of note.

In Lake County, staff are slated to get vaccinated at the largest high schools. In DuPage, it's partnerships with major pharmacy chains. In Will County, it's nurses vaccinating at individual schools.

But the headline is that everyone is still stuck in neutral.

As for the partnership between Walgreens and Deerfield, a Walgreens representative said Deerfield is the only district they are partnering with in this way.

It began, according to Deerfield school officials, when a community member inquired with Walgreens - and Walgreens reached out to get the pilot clinic up and running.

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