LEWISTON — In a letter to the school community on Monday, Superintendent Jake Langlais said the district is partnering with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention to host a series of COVID-19 vaccination clinics for students and staff.

Each of Lewiston’s five elementary schools will host rotating clinics on-site. Students and staff will also be able to receive the vaccine at evening clinics in community spaces, which are not yet finalized.

The first doses of the vaccine will be administered Nov. 18 and 19, and the second doses are scheduled for Dec. 9 and 10. Participants will be fully-vaccinated by Christmas Eve.

School administrators are working to finalize details and will distribute online permission forms with more information soon, Langlais wrote. Paper permission forms and language interpreters will be available at the clinics.

Students will not receive the vaccine without parental permission.

“Hours will be flexible for others who wish to be vaccinated, get their booster, or have availability outside of school hours in the evening,” Langlais wrote. There will be curbside options for non-symptomatic students and staff in quarantine to receive the vaccine.

“I encourage all students, staff and others to get vaccinated as part of the strategy to stay in school in-person,” Langlais wrote. “We know that there are mitigation strategies that help fight the pandemic. This is the opportunity so many have been waiting for.”

With the approval of the vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds and the OSHA guidelines for mandating vaccines for employees in organizations with over 100 employees, “now is the time,” he wrote.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is requiring that people who work for organizations with more than 100 employees, including public schools, either get vaccinated for COVID-19 or participate in weekly COVID-19 testing by Jan. 4.

According to a frequently asked questions page from the U.S. Department of Labor, pooled COVID-19 testing will satisfy the weekly testing requirement.

In Auburn, schools Superintendent Cornelia Brown said the district is not planning to host a vaccination clinic and will instead encourage newly-eligible students to schedule appointments at the Auburn Mall clinic.

“They’re already set up and have been doing it for quite a while,” Brown said. “We are not set up to offer a vaccine clinic and since we are right in Auburn — it would be different if our community was rural and we didn’t have access to the vaccines,” she said.

The Lewiston school district originally planned to encourage families to go to the Auburn Mall, but decided instead to host clinics after working with the Maine CDC and public health nurses to develop a plan, Langlais said.

Maine children began receiving the vaccine Wednesday after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. Children in this age group will receive one-third of the dose given to adults and teenagers.

As COVID-19 cases in schools remain high and outbreaks disrupt in-person learning, some schools are racing to set up clinics for newly eligible students.

Augusta schools have already sent home permission forms for students. As of Thursday, 54 students in Waterville Public Schools were signed up. Regional School Unit 2, based in Hallowell, and the Winthrop school district are also planning clinics, as reported by the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel.


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