COVID testing available to Hannibal School District staff

HANNIBAL — Members of the Hannibal School District staff who are showing COVID-19 symptoms can now find out sooner if they indeed have the virus.

Susan Johnson, superintendent of the Hannibal School District, reported to the school board earlier this month that rapid testing for the coronavirus is now available to district staff members who are showing symptoms.

“It has worked out really well,” Johnson said. “It helps staff if they are not positive for COVID to know so we can proceed accordingly and keep them in the classroom if they don’t need to be out.”

Johnson reported more than 100 members of the school district have already received a COVID vaccination shot.

“We have others in that tier that are waiting once new vaccines come in,” Johnson said. “And of course there are people who didn’t meet that (initial) criteria (to be vaccinated) who will be able to do it after that.”

While the initial round of COVID vaccinations took place at Hannibal Regional Hospital, Johnson said school district facilities would have been available if needed. The superintendent noted that the vaccine available locally has special storage requirements.

“The Pfizer vaccines need to be in really, really cold storage,” Johnson said. “They have to have specialized freezers.”

Johnson praised Hannibal Regional Hospital for its ongoing helpfulness to the school district.

“The hospital has been excellent about working with us. I cannot brag on them enough,” she said. “They have been excellent communicators with us. When they knew they might be getting this (COVID vaccine) and they did not know for sure, they gave us a heads up and said ‘be prepared.’”

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