Latin Holds Vaccine Clinic for Younger Students


Latin held an onsite vaccine clinic for Lower and Middle School students on November 11. After months of waiting for the vaccine to be eligible for their age group, students aged 5 to 11 were finally able to receive the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, free of charge.

The clinic, which was administered by the Jewel-Osco pharmacy, took place in the Lower School gym, and students could walk in or make an appointment to receive the vaccine for any time from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

When students and parents arrived at the clinic, they were greeted by teachers who were helping out. Director of Latin 360 Cat Curry, who helps run programs that take place outside of the traditional school day, said, “I am very proud of Latin for committing the time and resources and for the employees who volunteered to do whatever it took to offer this second vaccine clinic for our families and employees.” After helping run the clinic, she said, “Families were grateful, and many approached us in tears of joy to say thank you.”

Kimberly Burt, a Latin parent, brought her fifth grade son to the clinic. She said, “I really liked that teachers and admin were there to support the younger students as they got their first shot. I also thought it was a nice celebration for them, as it makes their job much safer to have their students vaccinated.”

She said the clinic was “easy and efficient, and the turnout was fantastic.” The response from Latin’s community has been overwhelmingly positive.

Latin will hold another clinic on December 2, dedicated to providing the second dose of the vaccine. This clinic will follow the same guidelines as the first clinic did: Students will be able to receive their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine in the Lower School gym from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The hope is that the second clinic will attract a good turnout and operate with high efficiency, just as the first was able to do.

In addition to the vaccine clinic, Latin recently made the switch from testing with Shield IL to Northshore Clinical Labs (NCL). At the beginning of the school year, Latin worked with Shield IL to administer weekly saliva tests for unvaccinated and close contact students. However, the saliva tests became a problem for younger students because they were unable to produce enough saliva to fill the test tube.

Latin made the decision to pivot to NCL on November 1. Their tests require a shallow nose or cheek swab, and it is up to students as to which one they take.

The feedback from Middle Schoolers regarding the switch to NCL has been positive. Fifth grader Liam Keogh shared that he prefers the nose swabs to the saliva tests. “They are quicker than the saliva tests, and they have been developed to a point where it doesn’t hurt,” he said.

Cora Villers, a first grader, said she also prefers the nose and cheek swabs over the saliva tests. “I like the nose and cheek swabs because the spit tests caused me a lot of trouble,” she said, “and I always forgot to do it before eating.”

The clinic was successful with providing Lower School and Middle School students with the first dose of the vaccine. However, even though the vaccine is now available to anyone 5 or older, Latin will continue to administer nose and cheek swab tests. Not all students will be required to participate in weekly testing. As of now, unvaccinated students and close contacts will take the swab tests once a week on campus.

Margie Stineman, a Latin parent, expressed her gratitude for Latin’s efforts to keep the community safe. “Managing all aspects of detection and vaccination within the walls of the school has taken the burden off families and made for a more seamless and productive school year,” she said. “As a parent, I am grateful for the school’s focus on the health and safety of the students and creating an accessible option for vaccinations.”