There were hundreds of Lexington-Richland School District Five staff members who received their COVID-19 vaccine Friday at the first of two COVID vaccination events.

Friday's event was held in partnership with Lexington Medical Center and included nearly 700 vaccinations, with school nurses administering the doses to staff.

“Today is a milestone for us in School District Five,” said Superintendent Dr. Christina Melton. “Our school nurses are making a dream happen and I thank them for their continued contributions during this unique time of operations. They have truly been heroes. It has been a collective effort to make this day happen and it is truly a moment to celebrate.”

Dutch Fork High School special education teacher Jean White was the first to receive the vaccine Friday. She said she has grandchildren and hopes the vaccination will be the first step back to normalcy for them and for her.

"It's been quite the year. I feel like this is going to provide some assurance ... maybe be a step toward getting us back to normal," White said. "The event made it fast and easy. Everything was smooth, and I'm happy that the district gave us this opportunity."

The second vaccination event for district staff will be held Friday, April 16. Lexington Medical Center officials said they were pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Lex-Rich Five and provide COVID-19 vaccinations for teachers and staff.

“We want to vaccinate as many people as possible against the COVID-19 virus and are grateful for the support of community partners as we work to keep everyone healthy and safe,” said Roger Sipe, senior vice president of operations at Lexington Medical Center.

Now underway in South Carolina, Phase 1b includes educators, school support staff, student teachers and district substitutes. District Five officials plan to utilize eLearning days, in lieu of makeup days, to allow for district staff to receive their vaccine. State officials announced March 26 that all South Carolinians ages 16 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning March 31.

The district is planning to provide asynchronous learning again on the April 16 eLearning day, according to officials.

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