WDMCS, MercyOne Partner for District’s First COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

A collective sigh of relief and smiling eyes behind face masks. Those were the responses of nearly 250 teachers, support staff, substitutes, and other West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) employees who received their first COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, Feb. 20. The district partnered with MercyOne to host the employee clinic at the Learning Resource Center.

After surveying its staff to determine how many needed an initial vaccine, the WDMCS Human Resources Department reached out to to several health care organizations in an attempt to organization an employee clinic. MercyOne also reached out to WDMCS, offering nurses and volunteers to pull off a well-organized and safe event.

“I’m glad to be able to be part of today’s vaccine clinic with West Des Moines, setting up vaccines for several of the teachers and staff,” said Dr. Robert Kruse with MercyOne Occupational Health. “This is going to help us get through this process over the next few months and hopefully return back to a normal quality of life.”

Acquiring vaccines and coordinating a clinic is no small feat. Health care providers are at the mercy of the vaccine supply chain, and the district only received the final green light the day before the event. 

“We are so grateful that MercyOne was willing to collaborate and make this event possible for our employees,” said Associate Superintendent of Human Resources Carol Seid, Ed.D. “I particularly wish to thank WDMCS parent and MercyOne employee Sam Ayres for helping to coordinate logistics.

“As educators, we are committed to serving our students and families. Providing vaccines for our staff helps protect them and provides an extra layer of protection against COVID-19.”

The vaccine also reassures staff that they are valued and their safety is a top priority.

“I’m excited to have my shot because I feel more safe being around students and around other people. I know we are still going to wear our masks and still have social distancing, but that 95% makes me feel better and just makes me feel more safe,” shared WDMCS employee Hannah Boese. “Thank you, West Des Moines (Community Schools) for giving us this opportunity!”

WDMCS plans to assess how many employees still need to be vaccinated, then determine if future clinics will be held.