McCracken County Public Schools Superintendent Steve Carter wore a “#StickIt2COVID” T-shirt on Friday to get his Moderna COVID-19 vaccination, and the educator sees the vaccine as a step toward the end of a pandemic.

“It’s exciting for me,” he told The Sun.

“We can’t let down our guard. This is just the first step of many to get to the end, but the one thing that I would say is we’re going to continue to persevere through this and I’m excited that we had this opportunity for our employees and the entire school system.”

Six-hundred-fifty vaccinations were administered at McCracken County High School and the Reidland school gymnasium Friday to a group that included teachers, administrators, custodial and classified staff. The list also allowed for others, such as substitute teachers, school volunteers and board members, reported Jayme Jones, MCPS director of public relations.

The COVID-19 vaccine was a welcome opportunity for two district employees, who were among the many people who got their shots Friday at the Reidland gym.

“I knew when they first offered it that I was going to be a yes,” third-grade teacher April Bynum said. “It was just no question about that.”

Bynum, who teaches at Reidland Elementary, has 26 years of experience. To her, the vaccine means getting all of her students back in the school building eventually. She said she misses them.

“We certainly had to learn how to adapt and change,” she said. “It’s been difficult, but not all of it’s been bad.”

While challenging, Bynum noted there has been a couple of silver linings, such as increased communication with families and she feels it’s made her, even as a veteran teacher, “dig deep and learn some new things.”

“It was good for me to learn some new technology, some new strategies, new resources, so it’s not all been a bad thing,” she said.

Bynum wants people to know how much they care about students and the community.

“Their safety comes first to us and so, whatever we can do to make sure that we do our jobs and keep them safe, of course, is going to be the most important thing,” she added.

Meanwhile, safety is a big part of Bruce Watson’s job as director of safety and law enforcement for the school district. He’s proud of how the students have responded to the changes and “rose to the challenge.”

“I hope this gets us moving forward where we can get everybody back to work and get the country back to normal, as much as it can,” Watson said, on the vaccine.

Johnna DeJarnett, assistant superintendent for personnel and finance, was also at the Reidland gym Friday and indicated that about 63% of staff chose to be vaccinated. The group’s second vaccine dose is scheduled for Feb. 19.

“We partnered with Baptist Health Paducah, the Purchase District Health Department and we have so many community partners from all across the area who are helping us get the vaccinations done and get the paperwork done,” DeJarnett said.

“We have been able to get all 650 people scheduled in this four-hour time period between here and McCracken County High School today.”

According to Baptist Health, COVID-19 vaccines will be administered Wednesday to staff members with Paducah Public Schools, Community Christian Academy and the St. Mary School System.

“We’re excited to be able to provide the Moderna vaccine to school employees in Paducah and McCracken County today and next week,” stated Dr. Brad Housman, Chief Medical Officer for Baptist Health Paducah.

“Not only will teachers get vaccinated, but also other school employees like bus drivers, cafeteria workers and custodians. The vaccine is the best opportunity we have to provide a safe environment for students and staff.”

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