Chicago Heights school gym transforms into vaccination center for faculty, staff

Leaders of a suburban school district are taking matters into their own hands as they transform a school gym into a vaccination center.

The Chicago Heights Middle School gym is now set-up to vaccinate teachers and staff members, which is part of a bold plan to re-open the school. 

"You hear all these stories about the rollout. Why can’t people get the vaccine? I don’t know. Do this," said Tom Amadio, District 170 Superintendent.

Amadio says teachers wanted to be vaccinated before returning to teach Kindergarten through 8th grade in-person.

So, they created their own vaccination center in partnership with Jewel Osco.

"They asked me if I could be interested, and it took less than two seconds to say yes. It was a no-brainer," said Amadio.

Now, teacher Amanda Ruiz and about 400 others in District 170 are getting their two Pfizer shots.

"I will definitely feel a lot better about going back into the classroom fully vaccinated," said Ruiz.

As a bonus, 250 seniors in Bloom Township were able to get shots too.


 "It feels awesome. It’s probably the most important thing we can do- in this time and place in the country right now is to get everybody vaccinated," said Bloom Township Supervisor TJ Somer.

This gym is pristine as it is in a brand new building that hasn’t been used all school year. Chicago Heights Middle School and 10 others in the district have been fully remote since March 2020.

"To give them something this beautiful and nice, and they want to be here - I can’t wait for March 8," said Amadio.

March 8 is the day in-person school is scheduled to start, after teachers and staff are fully vaccinated.