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Schools remain important partners throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, now helping bring vaccine to students.

Physical and mental health are key to students’ ability to learn. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and our county’s public school districts, tribal, and private schools work together toward the goal of physical and emotional health—and academic success for all students.

Schools are important partners to help increase COVID-19 vaccinations in Pierce County.

Even before COVID-19 vaccinations were available for adults or students, Pierce County school district superintendents and private schools pro-actively formed a school vacation task force. Vaccination planning in advance meant schools would be ready when COVID-19 vaccinations became authorized for staff and students.

When vaccines became available for adults, many schools offered to be vaccination sites for their staff and others in their communities.  

Now that children 12 and older are eligible for Pfizer vaccine, schools continue to partner with the Health Department, Pierce County Department of Emergency Management, and other health care providers to offer clinics. With vaccine clinics in every school district, and more than 50 school-based events before the end of the school year, students and families have many places to get vaccinated. 

Pierce County’s schools share a strong history to support students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alternate classrooms.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first emerged in 2020 and school buildings closed, our Pierce County schools quickly shifted to non-traditional opportunities for learning. Schools offered classes remotely or hybrid options that combined in person and virtual learning. Many schools provided computers for students to use at home and ensure technology was available to students and families.

Schools provide meals to students.

Our schools quickly responded to the directive from Gov. Jay Inslee for schools to offer meal sites and provide meals to students through alternative methods even though school cafeterias were closed. Over the past year, our Pierce County schools have provided thousands of meals to students, available for families to pick-up, and in some cases, through school bus drivers transporting meals to students’ communities.

Schools offer COVID-testing during the pandemic.

When the Health Department launched a COVID-19 school-based testing pilot, the pilot school districts served as key partners to provide testing locations, assist with staffing, actively implement strategies for community engagement and testing promotion, and assist the Health Department with data collection.

The Health Department offers many resources to support schools in navigating COVID-19. 

Every few weeks we publish a Schools Digest which contains updates, guidance, and information about COVID-19 that is relevant to schools. We also recently developed our school vaccine toolkit to help schools share messaging and communication with families and students.

School COVID-19 vaccination clinics offered during school hours are usually private events that we don’t advertise to the public on our website. For public vaccination events:

  • Find your vaccine appointment at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture.
  • Contact our call center at (253) 649-1412. Open every day 8 a.m-4:30 p.m. 
  • Sign up for our Vaccine Help List.

We regularly update the school pages on our website with the most current local guidance for Pierce County. We also monitor national and state school guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Washington State Department of Health (DOH), and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

Together, we can improve health of Pierce County’s students.

A nurse administers a dose of COVID-19 vaccine to a patient.