Nashville teacher drives 100 miles away to get a COVID vaccine

Metro Schools will return to in-person learning next week
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Posted at 7:10 PM, Feb 02, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Kathleen Lourence can't wait to greet her first graders again in person.

"They have earned a pizza party and we’re going to celebrate being back with each other," said Lourence, a teacher at Rosebank Elementary in East Nashville.

But teachers will have to wait to get their COVID-19 vaccine in Davidson County.

"This is not okay that we’re having to do this. We should have been better prepared as a state, as a city," she said.

Lourence was willing to wait until it was her turn, then she heard that Metro Schools in Nashville was returning to in-person learning. "You know what, I have to protect myself and I have to protect my students, so I’m going to do whatever I need to do," she said.

So she found the nearest county with vaccines available to educators, called another teacher friend, booked their appointments in White County and hit the road. Once Lourence and her friend were vaccinated, they took a photo to mark the milestone and to send a message.

"Teachers should be vaccinated," said Lourence. "I think that the state really does need to get their allotments straight. It’s really curious to me how Davidson and Shelby counties, the largest urban districts, don’t have enough doses for teachers."

Metro Nashville Public Health says they can't give us a timeline or estimate yet on when they could start vaccinating teachers, because they're still trying to vaccinate healthcare workers. That's why Metro School's Superintendent Adrienne Battle told reporters Monday that she hopes Governor Bill Lee will step in.

"If the leadership in Tennessee is serious about keeping staff in classrooms, we need to make vaccinations a priority now, not just on a chart but in real life, at this moment," said Battle.

Until that happens, Lourence plans to help all the other teachers who just can't wait either.

"If you want kids back in school, that should be a priority. So I think our state and county health departments really need to step it up," said Lourence.

Lourence and her friend aren't the only ones traveling to get vaccinated. She says a handful of teachers at her school have also traveled to Smith and Carroll Counties and she's heard of other teachers at other schools doing the same.

This article was written by Chris Davis for WTVF.