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COVID-19 In Allegheny County: Thousands Of School Employees To Be Vaccinated Over Next Week

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - On a wet, gray Thursday, the glow and warmth of hope could be felt in Homestead.

"I'm just excited and ready to get it all done," Tiana Morgan with the Northgate School District said.

Dozens of teachers and staff were lined up at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit for a vaccine clinic. Many were lined around the building before it started.

"The more teachers that get vaccinated, the quicker we can go back to normal and start learning appropriately," Emily Byron with the AIU said.

About 1,000 teachers and school staff rolled up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine in Homestead on Thursday. The Allegheny Intermediate Unit will vaccinate about 7,400 school staff over the next week.

"Potentially anyone that works within a school building. This first phase, they've prioritized elementary teachers and special education teachers," AIU Director of Safety and Security Aaron Skrbin said.

They're hoping to get more doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to give to the remaining 20,000 school staff that are part of the organization.

"This is just one more step to get us closer to what we remember as normal," Adam Santoro with the Fox Chapel School District said.

Each person got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, so it's one shot and done.

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"I think it's convenience for me. Not having to stand in line twice," Byron said before getting her shot.

According to the AIU, each district got an allotment of spots and it found who fits into its first group.

"We're well aware that there were a lot of people clamoring for it. People are waiting for it, and the teachers have been given a great opportunity," Skrbin said.

He called it "bittersweet."

"Because when we closed one year ago on the 13th, nobody expected we'd be standing here right now still talking about this," Skrbin said.

Teachers feel this vaccine is the shot in the arm to return to normal.

"That's the hope. Get more people vaccinated and get schools to slowly reopen, and get society in general back to some sense of normalcy," Skrbin told KDKA.

Intermediate Unit 1 -- which covers Fayette, Washington and Greene counties -- will have its clinic from Saturday until Thursday at California High School. It will have just under 3,000 doses.

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