Contact: Cherie Yurco;
For immediate release — Feb. 24, 2021
(DALLAS) — Since the start of the pandemic, the Critical Response Office (CRO) at Dallas College, led by Chief Critical Response Officer Dr. Sharon Davis, has provided a
COVID-19 dashboard as a public resource after recognizing how important it would be to provide timely, transparent, data-driven communication to combat the virus’ spread.
Recently, however, the CRO has pivoted from merely monitoring a previously unstoppable virus to actively helping to drive it into submission. As the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel has grown brighter with the arrival of vaccines, the means to help deliver them via Dallas College’s campus network has grown stronger. Dallas College has also played a crucial role in sharing critical vaccine information with the community in an effort to help flatten — and eventually crush — the curve.
“With the college’s vital role and unique footprint as part of the fabric of the community, we’re in a strong position to impact public health and support Dallas County’s effort to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Dr. Sharon Davis, Dallas College chief critical response officer. “We’re proud to be part of the county’s overall plan to get more vaccine into the arms of the people who need it most. Serving as a vaccine site, and connecting people immediately to appointments, is a point of pride for us.”
Vaccination Site Set Up at Eastfield Campus
The CRO has partnered with Dallas County Health and Human Services and offered all Dallas College campus facilities as potential sites for vaccine administration. Thus far, only the Eastfield Campus is being used for this purpose. The campus site is run by Parkland Hospital and serves as many as 400 patients per day.
Parkland also hosted a walk-up weekend clinic, in which vaccines were given without appointments for individuals age 65 and older. Many faculty and staff from Dallas College, and their families, were able to take advantage of this opportunity.
“It was a very good experience,” said Matson Topper, a music instructor at Dallas College Brookhaven Campus. “The whole process took about one and a half hours to complete. The lines weren’t too long, and it was all very well organized.”
The Critical Response Office has also worked with Parkland and Methodist Health System to certify nursing and EMS students to help administer COVID-19 vaccines. Dallas College students are gaining real-world experience, as part of their clinicals, as they help Dallas County in the vaccination process.
Academic Leaders Assist Community
In addition to the work the CRO has been doing, some academic leaders have volunteered on the front lines. During the first week of February, Dallas College student and staff volunteers assisted at a vaccine registration day event at Super Mercado Monterrey in Oak Cliff, which was organized by community activist Lesley Cannon. Spanish-speaking volunteers answered questions and assisted those arriving. Other volunteers manned computers to input registration information.
On Feb. 1, Dallas College Nursing Academic Chair Dr. Mark A. Meyer said he helped register around 100 mostly Spanish-speaking people. “I felt like we did what community colleges are supposed to do, serve the community,” he said. “These people we registered have no computer or smartphone, so without our assistance, they would not get their COVID shots.”
The following day, Dr. Juanita Flint, vice provost, Dallas College School of Health Sciences, volunteered alongside around 20 nursing students. “When I got there at 1 p.m., a line of 300 people snaked around the front of the Supermercado and all the way around to the back.
“Because I speak Spanish, I stationed myself toward the end of the line to assist them in filling out their forms,” she said. “They all seemed grateful for the help and very much wanted to get the vaccine.”
Cedar Valley and Mountain View Hold Registration Events
Volunteer Diana Arredondo assists a community member with COVID vaccination registration at Dallas College Mountain View Campus.
Dallas College, recognizing that certain parts of the community could be left behind — be it through lack of access or information — started its own campaign to help those who need assistance navigating vaccine registration. Organized in conjunction with Dallas County Health and Human Services and manned by Dallas College volunteers, the
registration assistance kicked off Feb. 8 at Cedar Valley and Mountain View campuses.
Volunteer Elizabeth Hardin, an administrative assistant at Mountain View, said that it is a rewarding experience to help. “I thought this would be a good opportunity to serve and assist people in our community,” she said. “This type of initiative is important because there are many in our communities who do not have access to computers or are just not comfortable with online registration.”
Mountain View CE and Workforce Specialist Diana Arredondo set to work organizing the team’s schedule. She’s been working directly with community members both translating and helping them to register.
“People are afraid and very discouraged by the impact of this pandemic on their lives. I assisted one 75-year-old Hispanic man who did not know how to read or write at all,” she said. “This experience broke my heart in pieces, knowing the need that’s out there.”
Cedar Valley Campus volunteer Candace Batiste says she has enjoyed the conversations she’s had with people coming in for help. Batiste, a senior manager in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Office, says she already went through the registration process with her dad who is 91.
“I provide positive and comforting insight to the elderly who come in to get registered and are nervous about getting the vaccine,” she said. “People need to know that it is important and that there are people here who care for their health and safety.”
Dallas College employees interested in volunteering at vaccination registration locations should email Dr. Davis.
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