Clayton County Public Schools (CCPS) was closed the Friday before Labor Day for a district-wide ‘Get Vaxxed’ initiative encouraging staff and eligible students to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

At Lovejoy Middle School on Friday, CCPS hosted “Clayton Calling the Shots,” a vaccination drive where they offered the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The district will offer the second dose at Lovejoy Middle on September 24.

Since the start of the school year, CCPS has had to temporarily close 13 schools due to a rise in COVID numbers. The majority of school closures have been elementary schools, with one having to close twice so far this year.

While elementary students are still ineligible for the vaccine, CCPS says the drive will still help to keep them safe.

“The more employees are vaccinated, especially those in direct contact with our K-5 population, the lesser the risk to K-5 students, at least in the school setting,” a CCPS spokesperson told the Atlanta Voice. “While the district can only reasonably limit possible exposures within our facilities through our COVID-19 guidelines, we continue to encourage parents and community members to get vaccinated as our school system and buildings are a microcosm of the community at large.”

The district is not required to keep data on employee vaccination rates but CCPS says they are in the process of collecting that information from employees.

To encourage vaccination among district staff, Superintendent Morcease Beasley is offering a monetary incentive for all employees who are vaccinated by September 30.

“Full-time employees will receive $500 while part-time employees will get $250,” Dr. Beasley announced.

The Board of Education approved the one-time payment at their August business meeting. Federal CARES Act funding will be used to make the payments by October 29.

Employees do not have to be vaccinated at a CCPS vaccine clinic to receive the incentive payment. Eligibility is limited to employees who have gotten both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

A CCPS spokesperson told the Voice the superintendent and board of education are not considering a COVID vaccination mandate as long as it is not being mandated by state or federal agencies.

(Photo Credit: Atlanta Public Schools)

Madeline Thigpen is an education reporter and Report for America Corps Member. She joined the Atlanta Voice in 2021. At the Voice she covers K-12 education for the Atlanta metro region and higher education....