After one full year out of the classroom, Rochester Public Schools moved middle school and high school students back inside their buildings for in-person teaching. Approximately 75% of students chose to return to the classroom, while the remainder will continue at home with distance learning. Given this huge step into normalcy, the Olmsted County Health Department can help secure the safety of our high schools by offering a COVID-19 vaccination Clinic at Mayo Civic Center. Students 16 and older in public and private schools in Olmsted County and neighboring secondary schools would qualify for the COVID 19 vaccine administered at this clinic. Those secondary students who chose to stay home and continue with distance learning would also be vaccinated, as long as they are age 16 or older. College students attending area schools or those college students at home who are remotely attending their universities would also qualify.

I strongly recommend this effort be administered by Olmsted County Public Health or by the MN State Vault system because they have skilled vaccinators. I implore that this safety initiative be offered before any outbreaks of COVID-19 occur within the high schools. To best facilitate this important vaccination initiative, clinics would be offered during the weekend while these students are not in classes. We all want our students and staff to be together and safely finish this last quarter of the 2020-2021 school year in the classroom.

Michele Bleskan, Rochester

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