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First Lady Jill Biden, Emmitt Smith thank high school for vaccination effort, but most districts say they won’t track students or staff vaccinations

None of the districts that responded will track vaccinations for staff and students once school starts, but all said they adhere to state vaccination guidelines.

DALLAS — On Tuesday afternoon, in one of the gyms at Emmett Conrad High School in Dallas, Ramona Williams and Chase Walton got their first dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. They were two of the people who came to Dallas ISD's pop-up vaccine clinic, a program the district launched this week, which was put on in partnership with Parkland Health and Hospital System. 

However, Williams and Walton got their shots while chatting it up with First Lady Jill Biden and former Dallas Cowboy Emmitt Smith. Biden made a stop at the clinic has part of her Texas and Arizona tour to promote vaccination efforts. 

During her visit at Emmett Conrad High School, Biden thanked Dallas ISD for providing a resource to get more people, particularly young people 12 and older, vaccinated.  

RELATED: First Lady Jill Biden arrives to Dallas for vaccine visit in Texas, Arizona

Jennifer Finley, director of health services for Dallas ISD, said the district doesn't have a goal for the number of people they want to vaccinate. She said their focus is on getting resources spread throughout the district and making sure people have the right information.  

"This is safe, this is approved, so go ahead and sign up, and these clinics are available for you," said Finley.  

Finley said the district worked to get nurses and other groups vaccinated as they became eligible and supplies became available.  

“We’ve worked with numerous partners, since the beginning of the year to offer not only vaccines for our staff, but now that Pfizer is approved for students, to offer it for students in the community," said Finley.  

WFAA reached out to the all of the school districts in our area to ask if they held, or planned to hold, similar clinics to get students vaccinated ahead of the fall semester and if they were planning to track vaccination rates within the district. 

Of the districts that responded after more than 24 hours, Grand Prairie ISD, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD and IDEA Public Schools said they'd either held vaccine clinics, like Dallas ISD, or had plans to hold informational meetings for parents about vaccine clinics. 

Frisco ISD, Wylie ISD, Birdville ISD, Joshua ISD and Lake Dallas ISD either stated they did not have plans for a clinic or provided a response that did not acknowledge vaccine clinic offerings. 

None of the districts that responded will track vaccinations for staff and students once school starts, but all said they adhere to state vaccination guidelines. 

Students and staff are not required to get the COVID-19 vaccine under state guidelines, and districts aren't required to track them. In fact, the guidance from the Texas Education Agency when it comes to whether a school district can require an educator to get vaccinated or even ask their education status is to seek legal counsel. 

As of Wednesday, about 57.5% of Texans 12 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. At least 49.3% of eligible Texans are fully vaccinated. 

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct that the partnership was with Parkland Health and Hospital System.

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