BENTON, Ark. – Saline County schools are joining forces for teachers, setting up a mass vaccination event to help protect educators against the Coronavirus. Five school districts teamed up with area pharmacies to get teachers and staff the COVID-19 vaccine, with hundreds of teachers being vaccinated from Benton, Bryant, Bauxite, Harmony Grove, and Glen rose. Pharmacies were able to pool their vaccines to get the job done, and school nurses and nursing students even stepped in to help vaccinate. By the end of the day, more than a thousand school workers left with Band-Aids – and the first step towards a full classroom.

Waiting your turn is something every student learns. But for Saline County teachers, it was their turn on Saturday to be patient. Workers from Benton to Bryant made a visit to the school nurse, lining up for their shot at the COVID-19 vaccine. “We’ve had a tremendous turnout,” said Brenda Chase, one of many school nurses who rolled up their sleeves to help out coworkers. But she wasn’t the only volunteer. “We have pharmacists and nurses, and nursing students,” Chase said of the many small vaccination sites set up around the room.

The huge event saw over a thousand vaccinated and was the passion project of a community looking to protect their schools. “This was really a hometown feel,” said Isabella Bradley of Benton Public Schools, “that we were all in this together, and everyone there was in this for the same reason.” For one county to put on something of this size takes effort and time. But organizers say that hard work paid off when the majority of Saline school staff left with their first dose. “Folks were here setting up until 9 last night,” Chase said. “It’s all paid off today.”

For teachers that signed up, this was more than just a shot – but a chance to have things look a little more normal. “They want their students all there, they don’t want those masks on anymore,” said Bradley. “They want to have a normal classroom atmosphere….Maybe this is a step forward to having that normalcy back.”

Teachers will have to get their second dose in about 3 weeks. Saline County has planned another mass vaccination event on February 13th.