School-Located Vaccination Clinics: Best Practices for School Districts
A Guide for School District Administrators
Schools are a large part of daily life for many children and their families and play an important role in COVID-19 prevention. As a result, schools are uniquely positioned to teach about, link families to, or even assist in delivering COVID-19 vaccines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends for all children ages 5 and older to receive COVID-19 vaccination. School-located vaccination clinics help make COVID-19 vaccination as accessible as possible to students.
The information on this page can serve as a roadmap for how school district administrators can work directly with health departments and other vaccine providers such as pharmacies to set up vaccination clinics in places that K–12 students and their parents know and trust.
Steps to Hosting a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at Your School District
For help with the identification of an appropriate vaccine provider:
- First, you should follow existing guidance, for example from your local or state health department, regarding who to partner with for school-located vaccination clinics. You can consider partnering with providers you have used for flu vaccination clinics and providers your school district used for adolescent COVID-19 vaccination clinics. Schools can contact your state, territorial, local or tribal health department, following your standard lines of communication, regarding potential partners.
- You can also visit vaccines.gov to identify vaccine providers near you and can contact pharmacies directly to request a vaccination clinic.
- If your school district cannot find a vaccine provider using the steps outlined above, you may request to be matched to a pharmacy partner in your area, if they have the ability to support a vaccination clinic. To submit a request, a school district representative may follow these steps:
- Go to https://protect-ows.hhs.gov/secure-upload/login/ggzslyr3ad6g244nhqxtgevmhoexternal icon
- Accept user agreement
- Enter email address and password: vaccine
- You will receive an email at the email address you provided. [Note: CDC will accept requests from school district representatives (one request per district) or officials from schools unaffiliated with a school district (e.g., private schools). Individual schools within school districts should ask their school district to submit a request.]
While COVID-19 vaccine providers are typically responsible for all clinical operations and reporting, school districts play a critical role in engaging students and their families.
Sample roles and responsibilities:
- Lead engagement and outreach to students and families.
chevron double right solid icon Lessons learned guidance for other school districtsexternal icon provided by Parkway School District in St. Louis County, Missouri, includes:
- Ensuring ample parking
- Working around educational schedules
- Obtaining parental consent
- Training staff
- Managing vaccine delivery and storage
- If an on-campus clinic is requested:
- Provide a clinic location (must be well-ventilated, clean, and spacious enough for social distancing before and during vaccination and for the 15–30-minute observation period after vaccination).
- Provide clinic facilities (e.g., tables, chairs, garbage bins, signage, restrooms).
- Provide an on-site clinic coordinator to liaise with vaccine provider to plan each clinic.
- Provide logistical and administrative support (e.g., security, scheduling support).
- Work with partners to ensure there is a plan for students to receive second doses at the appropriate interval.
- Establish supportive leave policies for students and staff who get vaccinated.
CDC guidance supports coadministration of COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines ─ including influenza vaccines, without regard to timing.
Determine with your vaccine provider whether your clinics will offer influenza vaccination or other routine vaccinations for students who are behind in their vaccinations because of the pandemic and whether your clinics will offer vaccinations for staff and families.
- Pick a convenient, trusted location for your vaccination clinic.
- Determine the days and hours of operation to allow parents and caregivers with varying work schedules and transportation options the opportunity to accompany their children if desired.
- Discuss options with vaccine providers for hosting clinics at the provider location (e.g., pharmacy) to reduce logistics burden for schools.
- If resources are limited, consider offering one clinic at a central location for all schools in your district.
As a school district administrator, you will play a critical role in engaging schools in your district and educating parents.
- Draft letters or use customizable content and letter templates to share information about the upcoming vaccination clinic(s) with school principals, healthcare providers, and parents. Include general vaccination information in these communications, especially that COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone and individuals can receive a vaccine regardless of immigration or insurance status.
- To amplify and engage your community, consider posting on social media, sharing signage, and leveraging trusted messengers in your community.
Outreach strategies by audience
It is important for school staff, including teachers and administrators, to know what role they play in COVID-19 vaccine-related communication, education, and activities.
- Use teacher workshops, staff meetings, and newsletters to promote school staff involvement in COVID-19 vaccination efforts, including sharing resources to encourage all school staff to get vaccinated themselves.
- Refer staff to COVID-19 vaccination fact sheets and FAQs.
- Ask school staff to stress the importance of students getting their well child visits or check-ups with their regular healthcare provider, including their routinely recommended vaccines that may have been missed during the pandemic.
Vaccine confidence is the trust that people have in vaccines. Families in your school district may be wading through a lot of information—and misinformation—about COVID-19 vaccinations.
- Be prepared to address questions and address misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine with your students and their families by sharing materials from credible sources, including these useful tips for talking about COVID-19 vaccines.
- Prepare a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document about COVID-19 vaccines. Include any planned efforts to vaccinate staff, students, and their families through school vaccine clinics.
- Include COVID-19 vaccine fact sheets with other information given to parents and caregivers and add to school and school district websites.
- Announce information about the COVID-19 vaccine and school vaccine clinics during school events, such as sporting events, school assemblies, and holiday gatherings.
- Work with your vaccine provider on the best strategy to obtain parental/guardian consent and to sign up students for clinics. Many providers may have their own scheduling tools and consent forms but will rely on you to share them with parents and guardians.
- Work with the vaccine provider to finalize the operations of your event.
- Continue to engage your community, including day-of reminders.
- Provide a post-vaccination letter to parents with information about potential side effects, timing of the next dose (if relevant), and other important information.
- 6 Ways Schools Can Promote COVID-19 Vaccines
- Considerations for Planning School-Located Vaccination Clinics
- Customizable Content for School-Located Vaccination Clinics
- Guide to Hosting COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics at Schoolexternal icon (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
- Resources for Administering COVID-19 Vaccines at Schoolsexternal icon(School-Based Health Alliance)