Washburn Univ. begins vaccinating staff in hopes of return to normal in the fall

Published: Mar. 22, 2021 at 3:36 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Faculty and staff at Washburn University are rolling up their sleeves for a shot at a return to normal come the fall semester.

The university is using the Student Health Services clinic inside Morgan Hall as its coronavirus vaccination site.

Director of Student Health Services, Tiffany McManis said, ”The county has been very helpful, very instrumental in working with us to get the vaccine here to get our faculty and staff vaccinated.”

McManis is leading the charge and said 40% of the staff at Washburn have already signed up for their first dose. Men’s basketball head coach, Brett Ballard, was one of the first to show interest.

”My guys did a good job this year of sacrificing. We got covid tested once a week and we really had no hiccups during the course of the season,” Ballard continued saying, “My guys were very disciplined with that, but I also want to show them that sometimes it’s not always about protecting us, it’s about those that may be around us. So, I hope this shows them that I believe this vaccine is safe and going to be very effective and protect a lot of people.”

Washburn’s nursing students are an integral part of getting those shots in arms.

”Some of the clinical hours have been challenging for our nursing students with the pandemic,” McManis added, “It changed up where they could go, when they could go, and what they could do. This is another opportunity to allow them to work with live people, getting that technique down, so they can really perfect it.”

Ballard said he see’s getting vaccinated as a way to help breathe new life into a seemingly empty campus.

“I miss seeing all the people, all the faces, and the kids on campus. We saw some of that and we’re getting back that way, but I really hope next August will feel like a normal college experience,” he said.

A reality the university is also striving for. McManis said, ”The plan is definitely to return more in-person in the classrooms and to be able to offer students that more traditional college experience. The more people we get vaccinated, the closer we’re going to be to a normal fall semester.”

At this time, Shawnee County is only vaccinating those in Phase 2B, which does not include most students. Washburn is currently only using their clinic to vaccinate faculty and staff.

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