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COVID-19 Vaccinations Begin for BTC Employees

January 13, 2021

“We are so blessed. I no longer feel nervous or anxious to visit my students in clinical settings,” said Blackhawk faculty member Carissa Johnson. She is one of nearly 50 college employees who have been vaccinated through a partnership with Beloit Health System.

Carissa seated, diplaying her COVID vaccination card

Following the vaccine prioritization guidelines from the Federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Wisconsin State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee (SDMAC), Blackhawk employees under Phase 1A started receiving the vaccine at Beloit Health System this week.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Health, Phase 1A includes “frontline health care providers and skilled nursing facility staff and residents as well as other health care personnel and staff.”

Vaccinations are one more feather in Blackhawk’s pandemic response cap. Since June, the College, a leader in its pandemic response efforts, has been open for in-person instruction and services. The College credits its heightened safety protocols such as requiring facemasks, maintaining physical distances, maximum air exchange, and advanced cleaning procedures for its ability to maintain a safe learning and work environment. There has been zero community spread of COVID-19 at any BTC location.

“From the beginning, it has been our sincere desire to be a part of the solution in our COVID-19 response. This fall, the community-wide testing site at Blackhawk administered about 5,000 tests, and we continue to offer our employees and students a take-home test option,” said Tracy Pierner, President of Blackhawk Technical College.

The College also has a team of COVID investigators whose work helps prevent COVID on campus. The investigators follow up on all reported exposures as well as positive cases. They perform internal contact tracing in cooperation with area health departments and oversee sanitization protocols to keep the campus safe and clean.

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to the safety of the Blackhawk community. We are truly grateful for our partnership with Beloit Health System to enable us to advance our pandemic response by providing vaccinations for our employees who are training the next generation of frontline workers,” continued Pierner.

Vaccinations are not required for Blackhawk employees. When asked why she chose to be vaccinated, Johnson said, “I did this for everyone I love and for my students. I did this for people I don’t even know.”

All Blackhawk employees eligible under Phase 1A have received their vaccines at Beloit Health System. According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Health, the next phase of vaccinations may begin as early as next week and could include police, fire, emergency medical services, and unaffiliated health care providers.

The College is currently an active member of the Vaccination Advisory Committee in Rock County and plans to open a community-wide vaccination clinic in cooperation with Rock County Public Health Department. The clinic is in the planning stages with hopes of opening later this month.  

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