Ottumwa Schools sees second session of staff getting COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 10:30 PM CST
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - 170 Ottumwa school staff lined up to get the vaccine Friday morning at Market on Main. One of those was Mike Stiemsma, director of student support. He says he’s excited to get the vaccine. “I think people getting vaccinated is good for our community and good for our school.”

These 170 will join the 200 staff who received the vaccine two weeks ago. And the district is working on a third session. All in all, Stiemsma says there’s around 65% of staff interested in the vaccine.

“We want to get every interested staff member the vaccination.”

At 10 am, the shots began, with Wapello County Public Health nurses putting needles in arms. Then, staff’s given a 15 minute timer to go wait here - on the bottom level of Market on Main. This is in case there are any immediate side effects. And then staff is free to go.

Angela Shultz was keeping time down here. As nurse with the schools, she’s stressing why she believes staff should get the vaccine: “You can lead by example. So you’re taking it serious, then the students can take it serious.”

Currently, the Ottumwa Schools website shows 70 students in quarantine...and just one staff member who tested positive Friday.

But for those staff who received the vaccine say they’re feeling good. Ann Youngman is a substitute teacher who retired from full time teaching in 2016. She says she felt “like I could cry, because it’s been a long journey.”

And Mike Stiemsma? He’s hopeful, too.

“Our teachers are working in close proximity to students every single day. If the vaccination can help bring a little peace of mind to our staff, that’s really what we’re hoping for.”

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