LOUISVILLE, Ky. — 2020 was the year of cancellations, no proms, graduations or end-of-year ceremonies but for the class of 2021, that may change.
New Albany Floyd County Schools will offer COVID-19 vaccines to students on campus to increase safety at large gatherings.
"This is a population that while they're not greatly at risk by vaccinating them we can avoid them becoming a vector to people who are more at risk," Floyd County Health Officer, Dr. Thomas Harris said.
There will be two pop-up clinics offering the Moderna vaccine to students at Floyd Central High School and New Albany High School on April 22. The health department is also talking to others schools in the county about hosting pop-up clinics.
"[Prom and graduation] tend to bring a lot of people close together," Harris said. "We've been really fortunate we haven't had a lot of direct school-related outbreaks but both of those events put people really close together and we want to try to avoid that."
Jenny Higbie has two kids at New Albany High School. Her son plans to go to prom.
"Honestly I'm just happy for him to get vaccinated just in general," Higbie said. "Just with going to his track meets and coming to school, traveling to different things with his friends and we're going to do some college visits here soon."
Getting a vaccine is optional. If students want one they will need permission from a parent or guardian.
"This will save families from having to sign up for the clinic online via the state website, it will save them travel to and from the site, it saves some from having to leave work potentially or bring the student out of the school building and back for a clinic appointment," school nurse and nursing supervisor at NAFCS, Andrea Tanner said.
Floyd Central High School is hosting this year's prom on campus. 800 people typically attend the big event.
"I don't know if it's going to be that high but it could be," principal Rob Willman said. "So that's why we wanted to have it here we felt like we can accommodate every junior, senior who wanted to attend by having it here."
Willman said the building will offer more room to social distance.
"And we've had vaccine clinics before," he said. "We've had shot clinics here before so some we're used to doing it anyway so why not go ahead and offer it."
If the pop-up clinics are a success the health department will consider hosting more of them at schools.