MARION — The Towns of Marion, Rochester and Mattapoisett, along with the Old Rochester Regional School District & Massachusetts School Superintendency Union #55, are proactively proposing a regional COVID-19 vaccination clinic for Tri-Town educators. If approved and supplied by the state, implementation of the plan will provide the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to an estimated 1,192 educators during a two-day period.
The plan, spearheaded by the Town of Marion, in partnership with the Towns of Rochester and Mattapoisett and the Old Rochester Regional School District (ORR), and with the support of State Representative Bill Straus (D-Mattapoisett), is being designed in anticipation of the state’s progression through Phase Two of its vaccine distribution plan.
“The Tri-Towns were able to come together to efficiently and successfully provide vaccinations to individuals who have previously become eligible for the vaccination, and I am very confident in our ability to do this once again for educators in the region,” said Marion Town Administrator James McGrail. “We recognize the importance of vaccinating educators, and proactively coordinating these plans, if supported by the state, would allow us to be prepared to implement them as soon as educators become eligible. I would like to thank the Marion Emergency Management Team for their continued efforts, as well as Rep. Straus, Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar, Town Administrator Michael Lorenco and Superintendent Michael Nelson for their partnership and support throughout this process.”
Added Town Administrator Lorenco, “We are pleased to be working with our Tri-Town partners once again as we continue this important public health endeavor, and we remain committed to continuing to advocate on the behalf of our region’s educators.”
Added Town Administrator Szyndlar, “Whatever we can do to help get our educators vaccinated is a top priority.”
The plan proposes establishing a site at Marion’s Benjamin D. Cushing Community Center, which is a state-approved and designated Emergency Dispensing Site (EDS) for use during public health emergencies. The site would be operated by the Town of Marion with technical assistance from the Towns of Rochester and Mattapoisett and ORR staff.
The proposed regional site would support educators at all schools within ORR, Tabor Academy in Marion and Old Colony High School in Rochester. Educators who work in other districts but reside in Marion, Mattapoisett or Rochester would also be eligible to receive a vaccination at the proposed site.
Through the plan, an estimated 442 ORR educators, 250 Tabor Academy educators, 150 Old Colony High School educators and 350 educators who reside in the Tri-Town area would be able to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination.
“Providing our educators and school staff members the opportunity to receive their COVID-19 vaccination at a local distribution site is a critical next step to safely returning students to our classrooms full-time,” Superintendent Nelson said. “As the Superintendent of Schools for the Old Rochester Regional School District & Massachusetts School Superintendency Union #55, I am very grateful for the vaccination advocacy that our town administrators and Rep. Straus have offered. Ultimately, supporting this educator vaccination distribution plan will directly benefit not only our staff members to work safely in our school buildings, but our students and families.”
The Town of Marion operated a regional dispensing site in January and February to vaccinate first responders in the region and other Phase One and Phase Two eligible individuals. Through the drive-through clinics, the site successfully provided over 1,000 doses to individuals in the Tri-Town area. The proposed regional educators clinic would utilize a similar drive-through structure.
“The Tri-Towns already demonstrated in December the skill and capacity to implement fair and efficient COVID-19 vaccine distribution when it came to first responders, so I am happy to support this proactive approach to getting local educators their vaccinations as quickly as possible when they are reached on the priority list,” said Rep. Straus. “I will work as hard as I can to have this local plan approved so teachers here can be reached from day one of eligibility.”
Rep. Straus will submit the proposal to Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, along with a request for 1,200 first doses to be administered to educators. Through the state’s current vaccine distribution plan, educators are in the third group to become eligible for the vaccine through Phase Two. The state has not yet announced when educators will be able to receive the vaccine.