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Detroit Public Schools Community District Sets Precedent with Designation as Detroit's First School District Enrolled as a COVID Immunization Provider
District expands partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Racial Disparities Task Force to close alarming gap in rates of childhood COVID-19 vaccinations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DETROIT- February 14, 2022 -Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) announced today in partnership with Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Michigan's Racial Disparities Task Force, and Detroit Health Department, DPSCD is the first school district in Detroit to become a childhood immunization provider and the first district to be fully authorized to administer COVID-19 immunizations. This means school nurses will administer the COVID-19 vaccine at schools to students and families who provide consent. This will open 107 new vaccine sites in Detroit.
"Detroit has a 4% childhood vaccine rate, 10 times less than other surrounding cities. This creates an increased chance of positive cases and outbreaks. The significance of providing the vaccine directly to our families and students in their schools, will speed up the process of students resuming in person learning permanently while continuing to implement the highest level of safety precautions," said Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Superintendent, DPSCD.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is providing a $100,000 grant to help set up mobile vaccine clinics in the district as part of this initiative.
"Assisting communities by supporting projects that give families easier access to vaccines in the neighborhoods where people work, live and go to school is critical to our current COVID-19 response and our path forward," said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. "MDHHS has helped school districts across the state set up pop-up school vaccination clinics, but Detroit Public Schools Community District is the first school district in the state that has enrolled as an ongoing COVID-19 provider site and establishing immunization clinics in their district."
The funding will assist with staffing and materials needed to support vaccine clinics such as vaccine storage and handling equipment, printed permission slips, posters and signage for the clinics, and supplemental educational materials provided to the parents.
To encourage vaccination and provide a boost to families as they improve their health, MDHHS is also providing $25 gift cards to CVS to each family with a child who participates in this vaccine program. More than 2,000 gift cards will be handed out while supplies last.
Vaccination rates among Michiganders ages 5- 18 are 37.4% for initiation and 33.1%. MDHHS is working across the state, and particularly in lower vaccination rate communities, to help increase these rates as the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is our best defense against the virus.
"Today's announcement is a welcome step forward," said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. "With this partnership between MDHHS, Michigan's Coronavirus Racial Disparities Task Force, local public health officials, and DPSCD, we will boost vaccination rates across Detroit, protect our community, and help teachers and staff provide our kids with a great education. As a DPSCD parent, I am grateful for the hard work of MDHHS, our local partners, and the Racial Disparities Task Force in getting this done. What we learn in this effort we hope to apply to communities across the state."
Providing access to families in their own school removes barriers and provides consistency throughout the process of attaining full vaccination status. Working with the school-based nurse assigned to their child's school, families can feel comfortable knowing a trusted nurse is onsite to administer the immunization dose. Federal relief funding enabled the District to hire a nurse in every DPSCD school.
The first six schools have been identified. The pilot schools are in every area of the city. To begin the program the week of Feb. 14, schools will notify parents and families to gain the appropriate consent from the legal parent or guardian, no other family member will be authorized to sign the consent form, this is imperative to ensure the state immunization records are properly recorded.
- A.L. Holmes
- Coleman A. Young
One of the goals is to host 1st and 2nd dose clinics in every school by the end of this school year, June 30, 2022. When the school vaccine program is fully implemented the goal is to host 20 clinics per week 1st and 2nd dose clinics.
The safety of our students, families, and staff have never been more important, by providing direct access to the vaccine this will ensure continued education to students by certified teachers, funding for the necessary resources to stay safe and a decline in learning loss because of the lingering pandemic.
Detroit Public Schools Community District will continue to collaborate with health authorities on the state and local levels to ensure families have direct access to the COVID-19 vaccination, and eventually all childhood and adolescent vaccinations. DPSCD has a proven record of accomplishment of upholding its strategic plan priorities to ensure all children receive the education they deserve, not only in good times, but as we continue to navigate through this devastating pandemic.
Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) is Michigan's largest public education system. It is governed by a locally elected, seven-member board with Dr. Nikolai Vitti serving as superintendent. The District's mission is to provide every student with a beneficial and rightful educational experience, preparing students to be career and college ready, and qualified to compete in the global market. The District has more than 100 schools and educates 51,000 children. For more information, visit detroitk12.org and follow @detroitk12 on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
MDHHS provides services and administers programs to improve the health, safety and prosperity of the residents of the state of Michigan. The MDHHS vision is to deliver health and opportunity to all Michiganders, reducing intergenerational poverty and promoting health equity.