ST. FRANCISVILLE, La. (BRPROUD)– Vaccine hesitancy is high in Louisiana and that’s according to a recent census survey. However, West Feliciana Schools took some extra steps to get teachers the info they need.

About 75 percent have already been vaccinated leaving 25 percent unvaccinated, making these some of the highest percentages in the state.

West Feliciana Parish School System Superintendent Hollis Milton says, “It starts with our employees. They go above and beyond every day, and this was an opportunity for us to go above and beyond for them. “

WFP School District set aside specific time for teachers and staff to get their vaccines. They accomplished this all while keeping students in class. 

West Feliciana High School Asst. Principal Matt Paxton says, “We did that through, basically, whether having subs ready to go or having teachers ready to cover classes. Whoever was ready and willing to step up, stepped up.”

The school board worked hand in hand with West Feliciana Hospital.

West Feliciana Hospital CEO Lee Chastant says, ‘We worked very closely with the school system and the school system had actually done a lot of work ahead of time. So when we got the green light to go and vaccinate them, they had everything lined up.”

They’re attributing this success to great staff, and also greater transparency. 

Paxton says, “Of course everyone was a little apprehensive at first, but it was very open with the district about communication.”

The school board surveyed teachers to gauge their interest — and to address any questions or concerns about the shots. 

“What we noticed was, the more that our employees were informed, the more comfortable they were hearing from their local doctor about the efficacy of the vaccination and the safety of the vaccination, they’d be more likely to be compelled to receive the vaccine. and we saw that through our survey numbers that started to turn to yes,” says Milton.

These efforts were aimed to better the lives of their teachers and students.

Chastant says, “Communities either get torn apart or come together in adversity, and I think when we look back at this we’ll find that this pandemic is actually why our community came together more.”

For WFPS, one step closer to the finish line is actually one step closer to the beginning of a better and brighter future. 

The latest weekly parish positivity rate in West Feliciana is now 3.8 percent, putting the parish at “moderate” community risk for spreading the virus.