Lehighton Area School District has recently received an allotment of H1N1 vaccine from the Department of Health. The District has a vaccination plan in place to begin student vaccinations today. Lehighton is the first Carbon County District in line to distribute the vaccine.

James Kraky, superintendent, announced that "Vaccinations, beginning with elementary level students, will be given during the regular school day. This will allow for maximizing the benefits for the student."

Lehighton's plan calls for the vaccination of all students who submitted written parent approval to the District. The approval letters were sent out in late September in anticipation of receiving the serum in October. Alternative Education students, Lehighton CCTI students, local parochial students and Intermediate Unit classes in the District will also have the opportunity for the vaccine. These students will receive the vaccination at their applicable school site.

All staff members, which include teachers and all levels of support staff throughout the District who meet Department of Health priorities, will be entitled to receive the vaccine if available.

The vaccine has come to the District in both the nasal and injection forms. The nasal vaccine will be used for elementary students to minimize possible emotional responses with the young students. The 3-4 day process will occur today; Friday, Nov. 6; and Monday, Nov. 9, as necessary. Lehighton CTI students will receive their vaccinations, if parent approved, next Tuesday, Nov. 10. Students under age 9 will receive a follow-up vaccine, through the District, approximately three weeks later, as prescribed by the Department of Health.

Kraky assures that the District continues to take a proactive stance regarding implementation of measures to prevent the spread of virus. Additional cleanliness practices have been put in place, including hand sanitizers, alcohol wipes, and signage reminders to all bathroom areas. Students are reminded regularly of good hand cleaning practices and ways to defend against illness.

The District applauds the collaboration and volunteerism of local entities, including Blue Mountain Health System, local nurses, and the Carbon County Emergency Management Agency. Kudos to the Lehighton Area School District nursing staff, Avril Guardiani, Coleen Harleman, and Kathryn Lloyd, for their diligence and hard work to provide a plan of action that qualified the District to host the H1N1 vaccine.