More than 2,000 Students Receive First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine at D97 School Clinics

More than 2,000 Students Receive First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine at D97 School Clinics

Newly vaccine-eligible students didn’t have to go far this week to get their shot at a safer future. After weeks of planning and coordination, the district and the Oak Park Department of Public Health (OPDPH) hosted eight school-based clinics—one at each of our elementary schools—and successfully vaccinated more than 2,000 students in just four days.

Due to the large number of District 97 families interested in clinics hosted by the district/health department, OPDPH helped expand our initial plan for hosting two clinics, with the joint goal of providing as many students as possible the chance to receive their COVID-19 vaccination. The concept of school-based clinics is to provide families convenience and accessibility, while offering students the comfort of being vaccinated among their peers in a familiar environment. The clinic planning team worked hard to make sure the clinic experience was safe, efficient and, importantly, kid-centered. 

As students entered the clinic, teachers and principals greeted and cheered them on with everything from puppets to pom poms. The friendly faces of school nurses welcomed them at the student vaccination station, where nurses not only vaccinated students, but gave them suckers and stickers, too. Last, but certainly not least, Oak Park Police Department’s very own Pawfficer Howie stopped by to comfort students—and parents and staff—throughout the evening. 

Parents accompanied their children throughout the clinic, including to the waiting room, where students were monitored for 15 minutes after receiving their vaccination. There, students received some serious swag—coloring books, pop-its and Play-Doh—to make waiting a little easier and arms a little less sore.

Hosting eight clinics in four days required a tremendous amount of planning and coordination. We are so grateful to the many people who partnered and supported us in this effort!

  • First and foremost, Oak Park Public Health Director Dr. Theresa Chapple-McGruder, for providing the vision, leading the effort, and securing thousands of vaccines for our students in a matter of days.
  • Oak Park Interim Village Manager Lisa Shelley, Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Terry, and the entire staff at the Village of Oak Park and the Oak Park Department of Public Health.
  • District 97 nurses and the community medical professionals who served as vaccinators at multiple clinics throughout the week.
  • District 97 principals, social workers and staff who worked so hard to make sure families felt safe and “at home” during the experience.
  • Community volunteers who filled numerous key roles to ensure that the clinics ran smoothly each night.
  • District 97 school PTOs for providing fun prizes for students and meals for our volunteers.
  • Safety and security manager Jim Hackett, our entire Buildings and Grounds team, and everyone at Central Office who helped plan and execute the clinics.
  • District 97 families, who, overwhelmingly, are vaccinating their child(ren) ages 5 to 11 against COVID-19, which will make a huge impact on the health and safety of our schools.

COVID-19 vaccines for children and adults are widely available at most national pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens and Jewel-Osco, and through many healthcare providers. Vaccines can be found by visiting www.vaccines.gov, texting your ZIP code to 438829, or calling 1-800-232-0233. For more information about COVID-19 vaccination opportunities in Oak Park, visit www.oak-park.us/vaccine. Oak Park residents who need assistance getting a vaccine can email the Health Department at [email protected] or call 708-358-5499.