ESD, health department encourage vaccines.

November 9, 2021

Pictured left to right: Walkerville Public Schools Superintendent Tom Langdon; Mason County Central Schools Superintendent Jeff Mount; DHD #10 Medical Director Jennifer Morse; Pentwater Public Schools Superintendent/Principal Scott Karaptian; West Shore ESD Superintendent Jason Jeffrey; Mason County Eastern Superintendent Paul Shoup; and Ludington Public Schools Superintendent Peggy Mathis.

ESD, health department encourage vaccines.

Superintendents from West Shore Educational Service District (ESD) and District Health Department #10 gathered last week to hold an event titled, “West Shore ESD and District Health Department #10 Promote COVID-19 Vaccination” to stand together in support of the COVID-19 vaccine.  

The idea for this event was generated by Walkerville Public School Superintendent Tom Langdon, who reached out to DHD #10 wanting to express his appreciation for all the hard work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and to get other superintendents from within the West Shore ESD together as a show of support for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“The idea came to me after Dr. (Jennifer) Morse (DHD #10 medical director) drafted a joint statement from DHD#10 and local schools in May 2021 regarding the importance of preventing the spread of COVID-19 so that schools can remain open,” said Langdon. “I felt that getting our area school superintendents together with Dr. Morse and staff from DHD #10 as a united effort to continue to promote the COVID-19 vaccine would make a powerful statement.” 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every single person in Michigan,” states a press release from DHD #10. “Our children especially have had to miss out on, or change, the way they enjoy once-in-a-lifetime events. More than 760 children have died from COVID-19, and it is estimated that during the first 15 months of the pandemic, more than 140,000 US children lost a caregiver due to COVID-19. Despite the difficulties of the pandemic, we are proud that our schools are continuing to offer in-person education this year, most with few interruptions. 

“Schools and local health departments know school closure negatively impacts our children’s physical, mental, and educational development, as well as their overall wellbeing. To keep our K-12 schools open safely this year, we have devoted large amounts of time and resources to this worthwhile investment. We will continue to do what is best to keep children in school, and as part of this, we encourage those that are eligible in our community to get vaccinated for COVID-19.  

“Most of the cases of COVID-19 in students and staff at schools are due to community transmission, meaning most COVID-19 cases came from outside of the school. Unfortunately, when a student or a staff member with COVID-19 goes to school, they can expose many people in school and infect other people at school. When large numbers of people are exposed, or if COVID-19 starts spreading in the school, often the only option is to close the school for up to two weeks. We know this is a hardship on our students and families. 

“The best way to keep our schools open is to reduce and prevent COVID-19 in our communities, especially in those people who are around our students and staff. Currently, our best hope of doing that is with vaccination for COVID-19. We ask that all those able to get vaccinated for COVID-19 do so to help keep our schools open. With recent authorization of a COVID vaccine for children 5-11, we encourage you to get your children vaccinated to help end this pandemic.” 

“To date, hundreds of millions of Americans have been vaccinated for COVID-19,” said Dr. Morse, “and we know the vaccines are safe and effective and reduce the spread of COVID-19 overall.”  

“Right now, vaccines are our best option to not only protect our students and community members, but also to make sure our schools stay open as much as possible,” said Dr. Langdon. “We know that not being in school is something that hurts our children academically, and in the mental health realm as well. While it is not my place to twist arms in an effort to have people choose to vaccinate, it is my place to encourage people to consider this important option.” 

“Our goal is to keep students and staff in school for learning,” said West Shore ESD Superintendent Jason Jeffrey. “We appreciate the support of our health department and medical care providers for the availability of vaccines for those who choose to receive them.” 

“Working collaboratively with our schools has been one of the silver linings of the pandemic,” said Dr. Morse. “Having an event like this, where we can come together to support something that will help keep our schools open and safer makes my day.” 

To schedule a COVID-19 vaccine or booster dose, go to or call 888-217-3904.