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NECC Joins President Biden’s COVID 19 College Vaccine Challenge

Submitted by on June 16, 2021 – 5:46 pm

Brenda Sicard of Lawrence received a vaccine from Medical Assisting Student Jasmine Hong, who was volunteering at a clinic at the Arlington Middle School in Lawrence.

Northern Essex Community College has joined the White House COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge, along with colleges and universities across the country.

Announced by the White House and U.S. Department of Education earlier this month, the challenge is part of President Joe Biden’s goal to have 70% of U.S. adults vaccinated with at least a first dose by July 4.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 44.4% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated, 58% in Massachusetts. In Essex County 54% of the population has been fully vaccinated, with some communities lagging behind, such as Lawrence, where 37.9% of the population is fully vaccinated.

“We believe that the more people who are vaccinated, the safer we will be as a community,” said Lane Glenn, Northern Essex president. “That’s why we are doing everything possible, including joining the President’s challenge, to make the vaccines available to our faculty, staff, and students, and the communities we serve.”

Participating colleges commit to three actions: engaging every student, faculty, and staff member; organizing campus communities around vaccine efforts; and delivering vaccine access for all.

Northern Essex has made every effort to make the vaccine accessible to the college and its communities.

In April, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center (GLFHC) opened a vaccine clinic in the Dimitry Building on the college’s Lawrence Campus. That clinic will stay open through June 30 and priority appointments are being given to Northern Essex faculty, staff, and students. When the clinic closes, those needing vaccines will be referred to the GLFHC clinic on Pelham St. in Methuen.

Since March 1, nursing and medical assistant students have been administering vaccines as volunteers in clinics run by the city of Lawrence, Pentucket Medical, and GLFHC. Medical office assisting students have helped with registering patients.

Also, the college has waged a communications campaign to promote vaccinations. Rosanna Lara, the college’s contract tracer case manager, is visiting classrooms and speaking with student groups in both English and Spanish to answer questions about the vaccine.

The college continues to maintain a COVID-19 website with information and resources, which is updated regularly.

For the past two semesters, 90% of classes at the college have been offered online with just 10% face to face. In the fall, at least 25% of classes will be face-to-face, with social distancing and extra safety measures.

“The availability of vaccines promises a return to some kind of normal again soon,” said Glenn. “It’s likely that by the fall, most of the Northern Essex community will be vaccinated, providing us with the opportunity for a gradual, safe transition back to in-person learning.”