CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) announced its latest initiative to encourage students, teachers and staff to be vaccinated. The “I Got Vaxxed Competition” is designed to encourage vaccinations among eligible, school-age students and school personnel. Throughout the state, one high school, one middle school and one elementary school will earn $5,000 for having the highest percentage of eligible persons vaccinated. The WVDE will award those schools $5,000 for student activities during the 2021-22 school year. The winners of this challenge will be announced the week of October 3, 2021.
For the past two school years, proms, homecomings, field days and assemblies have been canceled due to COVID-19. With vaccines now widely available, it is safer for students to participate in activities they have missed in the past. The competition is a way to celebrate the hard work and vigilance of those that prioritize vaccination, and school participation is completely voluntary, state officials said.
“We know that students and staff lost so much more than instructional days during the pandemic, and this is just a way to try and restore some normalcy and recognize the importance of vaccinations,” said State Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch. “Children need the benefits of a consistent school year to regain some of those lost experiences which, in turn, support their social-emotional needs.”
Although COVID-19 disrupted the lives of our students and staff, vaccinations will help create a more stable environment in the schools to learn, teach and work, according to officials. West Virginia students ages 12 and older and all teachers and staff are currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The summer vacation is coming to an end. However, there is time to get the vaccination process started as the school year approaches,” Superintendent Burch said.
The WVDE will work with counties and schools interested in coordinating vaccination clinic during the coming months. School open house programs and summer learning and engagement activities are excellent venues to host vaccine clinics.
For more information about the #IGotVaxxedWV Competition, visit wvde.us/IGotVaxxed.