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Diocese of Joliet helps school personnel receive COVID-19 vaccines
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Diocese of Joliet helps school personnel

COVID-19 vaccines 

February 23, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic
On February 20, 2021, Diocese of Joliet Catholic schools, in partnership with KODOCARE Pharmacy, Cathedral of St. Raymond Parish and School, and University of St. Francis nursing program, held a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for interested employees in the school system. 

The Diocese of Joliet Catholic Schools Office, in partnership with KODOCARE Pharmacy, Cathedral of St. Raymond Parish and School, and University of St. Francis nursing program, held a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for interested employees in its Catholic school system on February 20.

“We have been working since the Illinois vaccine roll-out began to support our schools in advocating for vaccines for teachers and staff who choose to be vaccinated in our 54 schools that have been open for in-person instruction all year,” said Michael Boyle, Ph.D., superintendent of schools.

With approximately 1,600 school personnel spread across the diocese in five counties, each school was advised to work toward multiple paths to secure vaccinations for their interested staff due to high demand and limited supply. For some, community groups contacted schools to secure the number of needed vaccines to include school staff. For others, individual Catholic schools reached out to their public-school counterparts to be included in their vaccine distribution plans. In addition, some schools created partnerships with a health provider to secure the appropriate number of vaccines. 

Meanwhile, the diocesan Catholic Schools Office was also working to create partnerships and secure vaccines.

“We contacted our principals about the status of their buildings in terms of being approached about vaccines or if there is a plan in place,” said Boyle. “We asked each school if they had already made arrangements for staff to receive the vaccine, and if not, to assess the number of staff interested in doing so.”

KODOCARE Pharmacy provides custom pharmacy solutions throughout Illinois and generously offered to provide the vaccination clinic. Chad Kodiak, R.Ph., Pharm.D., is a parent of three students at Cathedral of St. Raymond School and is the second-generation Owner and CEO of KODOCARE Pharmacy. “We have so much respect for the teachers and staff in the Joliet Diocese whose efforts to provide in-person learning during the pandemic are truly heroic,” said Kodiak. “We want to do everything we can to support those efforts and are honored to be a part of the solution.”

As essential and frontline workers, teachers and school personnel are eligible in the 1B vaccine rollout in Illinois, Boyle said.

“Our schools in Grundy, Kankakee and Kendall counties were some of the earliest to have opportunities for their interested staff members to be vaccinated directly through county health departments,” said Boyle. “We knew vaccinating our teachers and staff throughout DuPage and Will counties would be more challenging based on the number of vaccines requested.”

The diocese had more than 20 percent of school personnel vaccinated at this clinic. Those vaccinated will return in three weeks for their second shot. According to the diocese, approximately 83% of its schools now have staff members who have been vaccinated.

School personnel received an email from their principal about how to sign up for a vaccination appointment at the school in Joliet. A special area dedicated to vaccine inoculations was established for the clinic.

“This is an incredible opportunity that adds an additional layer of protection to our faculty and staff,” said Marjorie Hill, principal at Cathedral of St. Raymond. “We are ready to roll up our sleeves and do our part to put an end to this pandemic.”

“We are fortunate to be able to facilitate this for our school personnel who have been providing in-person instruction and support this entire school year,” said Boyle. “We are grateful for our partners at KODOCARE for this opportunity, St. Ray’s for hosting and providing volunteers, and the University of St. Francis nursing students for staffing the clinic.”

Video highlights of the clinic are available at https://vimeo.com/515492548.