Swinomish vaccinating La Conner Schools staff against COVID-19
February 3, 2021
In promoting the 2021 La Conner Schools levy, Superintendent Rich Stewart makes a point of stressing the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community’s financial support.
Now Swinomish is literally providing La Conner Schools another shot in the arm.
The Tribal Senate last week authorized Swinomish medical and dental staff to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to school employees as the District transitions to in-person classes.
“The Senate recognizes the importance of our La Conner teachers to our community’s children and their future, and we understand the benefits of in-person education,” Swinomish Tribal Senate Chairman Steve Edwards told the Weekly News. “After consulting with our health administrator, Jennifer La Pointe, the Senate decided that providing vaccinations to the teachers could bring our teachers and children back together in the classroom in a safe way.”
That is welcome news to La Conner Schools officials. “Our District Board of Directors is extremely grateful for the wonderful support of our District,” Stewart said.
Tribal medical and dental staff will also handle documentation administeration. “That’s what we’ve been doing for weeks with vaccination of tribal members and staff,” said Edwards, “and it has gone very, very well.”
La Pointe said vaccines could be administered to schools staff as early as this week, matching the timeline for some elementary students to return to campus.
“This is not the first time we will be providing vaccine to a non-Tribal entity,” La Pointe said. “In Phase 1, we were able to include Fire District 13. Of course, the volume for La Conner School District is much larger.”
She said La Conner Schools has identified about 100 staff interested in receiving the vaccine. The vaccinations will be given at the Swinomish Tribal Medical Clinic.
“The tribe has long-standing relationships with Fire District 13 and the La Conner School District,” Edwards said, “and this is just one more way we are working together to serve the community.”
Tribal Senator J.J. Wilbur, a School Board member, shared that sentiment. “It takes a village to raise a child and the La Conner School District is an important part of our community,” he said. “It’s very important to get our children back in school as soon as we can and as safely as we can.”
“We (the tribe) always have and always will support the La Conner School District,” added Edwards, like Wilbur, a La Conner alum. “Our goal has always been to build bridges to bring the tribe and the schools together.”