Lake County vaccinates about 800 eligible employees

Lake County Schools vaccinated some of its at-risk employees on Wednesday.

The district took advantage of a teacher planning day to become one of the first school districts in Central Florida to vaccinate its employees.

"It was easy," substitute teacher Eileen Bender said. "You filled out your forms. You waited. You got your shot. They made it a very pleasant experience."

Tavares High School’s gym was converted into a vaccination site for about 800 employees. Shots were available for staff 65 and up, school nurses and medication-trained employees who cover school clinics when nurses aren’t available. 

Superintendent Diane Kornegay said the vaccination plan came together just a few days ago.

RELATED: More Publix pharmacies in Florida to offer COVID-19 vaccine

"I simply asked, ‘Hey. Our 65 and older, all those that are covered under the executive order, can we get them vaccinated?’ And, in three days, here we are," Kornegay said.

Substitute teacher Eileen Bender was one of the first to be vaccinated. She tells FOX 35 she feels safer.

"I always have a lot of trepidation because you don’t know where the students have been, where their families have been," Bender said.

Kornegay said the vaccinations will make everyone safer.

"I hope, for our parents who are still struggling with their decision to send their kids back to school that this is just one more step in the direction of providing them that assurance that – bring your kids back," Kornegay said. "Our employees are being vaccinated and we want your kids back in school."

The superintendent is hoping state vaccine restrictions open up, so more staff can get vaccinated soon.

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccine: When Central Florida school employees will get it this week

Last week, the Lake County School Board, like other school boards in Central Florida, agreed to send a letter to Governor DeSantis asking him to prioritize vaccines for all teachers.

"Don’t hesitate," Bender said. "Get vaccinated. It makes everyone safer, the children, included."

The school district has not announced yet when the employees will come back for their second dose, but the superintendent tells FOX 35 it will be in about 21 days.