Coronavirus Staff FAQs
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UPDATE (Feb. 9, 2021)
UnityPoint confirmed they will not have vaccines available for a Feb. 12 clinic at Valley High School’s Staplin Performing Arts Center. This means employees who already submitted UnityPoint paperwork and a copy of their insurance card for the Feb. 12 clinic will be placed into a queue and will be emailed a scheduling link for the Feb. 26 clinic at Valley.
Because UnityPoint will schedule appointments in the order they are receiving paperwork, not all employees will be vaccinated on Feb. 26. If you are one who receives a slot, you will receive a different email from UnityPoint with the specific TIME for your vaccination prior to Friday, Feb. 26.
We are also working with other health organizations to establish separate vaccination opportunities for our employees and will share more information as it becomes available. the meantime, if you have access to scheduling a vaccination with your primary care provider or through another organization, please proceed with those plans. In addition, the Polk County Health Department has provided vaccine scheduling resources.
The FAQs below have been updated to reflect this change. Thank you for your continued patience and grace as we continue to find WDMCS-specific opportunities for vaccinations.
Q. When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?
- COVID-19 vaccine appointments will be open to individuals in phase 1B starting Feb. 1. Phase 1B includes:
- 65 years and older
- First responders
- PK-12 staff, early childhood education, childcare workers
- Individuals in phase 1B (65 years and older, first responders, early childhood education and child care workers) and phase 1A (healthcare workers and long-term care facilities staff and residents) will be able to schedule independent appointments.
- You MUST have a scheduled appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Walk-ins will not receive a vaccine at that time.
Q. Will I be able to get a vaccine through the district?
A. We are currently working with UnityPoint to facilitate vaccinations on-site and/or at nearby locations
- Current Dates: Feb. 26
- Location: Valley High School in the Staplin Performing Arts Center
Q. Who Qualifies?
A. All PK-12 educators and staff are included in phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, as developed by Iowa and local health departments.
Q. What do I bring to show proof of employment?
A. Bring your WDMCS employee photo badge along with other identification requested by the provider when you go for your vaccination.
Q. What if I am a substitute teacher and do not have a badge?
A. Human Resources can provide documentation for you to take with you. Please complete the form linked below to request the proper documentations.
Q. Will I receive one vaccination or will I be administered the version that requires two doses?
A. At this time, the Polk County Health Department has only received the vaccination that requires two separate doses. NOTE: The first and second doses must “match.” You cannot receive a Moderna vaccine for the first dose and a Pfizer vaccine for the second dose or vice versa. We believe employees who have received their first dose will be able to use this clinic to get their second dose, as long as the vaccine types match. We do not know if Moderna or Pfizer vaccines will be available on Feb. 26 yet. Any new information learned will be shared with staff.
Q. Is there an advantage to waiting for the vaccination through WDMCS?
A. From what we understand, the vaccination will be the same whether you schedule one with WDMCS or another provider. However, our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to schedule a time and not compete with the thousands of other local Iowans who are attempting to reserve a time for the vaccination.
In addition, some providers are limiting who qualifies at this point based on their title. For example, some providers are not giving vaccinations unless an individual’s title is “teacher,” which excludes more than half of our employees. We will not limit who can receive the vaccination at our district vaccination events.
Q. Where else can I get a vaccine starting Feb. 1?
A. If you have access to scheduling a vaccination with your primary care provider or through another organization, please proceed with those plans. The Iowa Department of Public Health is partnering with several locations to distribute the vaccine. Visit your county’s health department website to see a full list of available locations. You may be able to schedule an appointment in a neighboring county to receive a vaccine.
- There will be two types of appointment locations.
- One type will be open to everyone in the current phase(s) being served.
- Another type will only be open to certain groups within the phases, like PK-12 educators or first responders.
- If there are no appointments available, please check back periodically. Additional appointments will be added as vaccines become available.
Q. What will happen at my vaccine appointment?
- You must wear a mask to your appointment. If you do not have one, a mask will be provided for you.
- You will also need a photo ID and employment verification (your WDMCS ID badge or similar).
- The vaccine is administered in two doses. You do NOT need to go to the same location for both doses. You DO need to bring your vaccination card with you at your second dose appointment.
Q. What will happen after I am vaccinated?
- After getting the vaccine, you may have mild side effects for 1-2 days. This includes a sore arm, muscle aches, tiredness, and headache. A less common side effect is a fever. You may also have no side effects.
- Due to these side effects, WDMCS expects to see some level of staff absenteeism as vaccines become available to PK-12 educators.
- One option is to stagger employee vaccination times so not everyone in a building or department is receiving the vaccine at the same time.
- It takes the body about 6 weeks to build up immunity after the first dose. It is important to continue to wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands, and follow other public health recommendations after vaccination.
- If you are a close contact of a positive case of COVID-19 after being vaccinated, you WILL still need to quarantine.
- At this time, the length of immunity is still unknown. This may be a vaccine that people need to get again, like a tetanus shot or flu shot.
Q. Who decides who gets the vaccine?
- COVID-19 vaccine timeline and appointment availability are based on vaccine supply.
- Iowa receives about 19,000 Moderna vaccines and about 19,000 Pfizer vaccines each week.
- Each county will get some doses weekly, based on population and need. The counties are notified about the vaccines they will receive one week in advance.
- Local public health departments determine who gets the vaccine. Decisions in Polk County are based on the tentative timeline starting with phases 1A, 1B, and 1C. The general public will start after Phase 1C, likely in mid-to-late 2020.
- Polk County Health Department has stated that there is no sub-prioritizing within phases. In other words, once phase 1B is open, it is open to everyone in phase 1B at the same time.
- Some providers are limiting who qualifies at this point based on their title. For example, some providers are not giving vaccinations unless an individual’s title is “teacher,” which excludes more than half of WDMCS employees. We will not limit who can receive the vaccination at our district vaccination events.
Human Resources FAQs
Q. When should an employee stay home? When should an employee return to work?
A. Please view our “COVID-19 Exposure Guidelines” web page.
Q. What are kind of safety precautions are in place to protect me as an employee?
- Social distancing guidelines are implemented to the extent possible. Floor decals and signage are utilized to note distances of at least six feet apart.
- Face masks are required for on-site staff and students.
- Employees are required to complete a health self-assessment prior to the start of their work day. Students may be asked to self-assess depending on the activity.
- Hand-washing and hygiene training were provided to employees and students.
- All students have regular hand-washing breaks scheduled during the school day.
- Cleaning and disinfecting continue in each area, on an enhanced schedule. High-touch areas such as handrails and doorknobs are cleaned and disinfected regularly throughout the day.
- Water fountains have been disconnected. Bottle fillers and sanitizing stations are provided in each building.
- Plexiglass barriers were installed for public-facing employees.
- Cleaning and disinfecting supplies are provided for each space in the school, in addition to the enhanced cleaning and disinfecting schedule of the custodial staff.
Q. What kind of additional training will I receive regarding safety protocol as a result of COVID-19?
A. Additional training was provided as part of SafeSchools this fall.
Q. What if I have underlying health risks that impact my ability to return to a work environment?
A. Contact HR administrators (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss your specific situation.
Who should An Employee Call if They Test Positive?
A: The employee communicates the DAY they find out, regardless of if it’s outside of school hours or on a weekend.
- Employee contacts immediate supervisor who informs the building administrator.
- If at school during work hours, employee contacts the school nurse, then goes home.
- Employee contacts Human Resources (Carol Seid, associate superintendent of HR. ) W: 515-633-5037 C: 515-321-3214
What if the employee can’t get ahold of anyone?
A: Call the new WDMCS COVID-19 Response Line: 515-633-5990.
Include your name, building, role, and phone number.
Social/Emotional Resources FAQs
Q. The stress is taking its toll. What resources do you have for me or my students and families?
A. WDMCS partners with Employee and Family Resources (EFR) to provide resources for both staff and students.
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides support for anxiety, depress, job stress, wellness concerns, and much more. To talk to a counselor, please call 800-327-4692, or contact them online.
Similarly, families can reach out for EFR through their Student Assistance Program (SAP).
General COVID-19/Cleaning FAQs
Q: What can I do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?
A: Staff and community members can help by following these simple, easy steps that help prevent the spread of ALL contagious viruses, including COVID-19. Practice the same routine hygiene used to help prevent the cold and flu.
- Regularly wash hands.
- Stay home, especially when sick.
- Cover your mouth with your upper arm or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces.
Q: What is WDMCS doing to clean buildings?
- Clorox 360 Spray System. The buildings are being cleaned with a disinfectant that covers all surfaces.
- Disinfected sections will be taped off to prevent individuals from entering cleaned areas. Some areas will be cleaned regularly if they are used by essential staff or contractors.
- All activities and events have been canceled to prevent re-contamination throughout buildings.
WDMCS Return-to-Learn All Staff Q&A Meeting — July 21, 2020