For Immediate Release:
March 8, 2021
Primary Media Contact:
Public Relations Specialist
More than 800 people received their first dose of a vaccine against covid Friday thanks to a partnership between Laurel Ridge and Rotz Pharmacy.
Seventy volunteers, including Laurel Ridge employees and pharmacy workers, ensured a smooth process for the hundreds of people who came to the Middletown Campus to receive the first of their two shots of the Moderna vaccine. The shots were given by Laurel Ridge nursing students and faculty.
Rotz Pharmacy, an independent pharmacy in Winchester, has been administering about 100 doses each week at its Amherst Street location. Co-owner Jason Rotz said prior to Friday, the pharmacy had given 600-700 first shots and 200-300 second shots to customers since mid-January.
When a larger supply of vaccine became available – the snowy weather in February meant a shipment was delayed, resulting in even more shots being available on Friday – Rotz knew all the jabs couldn’t be given at his pharmacy, given its size.
“I knew from being born and raised here that the community would come together, and I started reaching out to those I knew had the space in which we could hold a large-scale clinic,” he said. “[Laurel Ridge Vice President of Financial and Administrative Services] Craig Short offered the facilities, and [Laurel Ridge Director of Health Professions] Kristina Simpson said her nursing students would love to help.
“Everyone has been really great. Patients have been so thankful.”
Contributing to the public health effort is in line with Laurel Ridge’s mission, according to Dean of Professional Programs Craig Santicola.
“We are a college for the community, and this is a great example of how we embody the word community that’s in our name,” he said. “Many people were involved in the planning of this event – Jason Rotz, Whitney Miller, director of facility planning, and Mary Catts, our nurse retention specialist. Their effort, along with many others, has resulted in a well-organized vaccination event that benefits residents in our community while providing our nursing students a great learning opportunity.”
More than a dozen Laurel Ridge nursing students were on hand all day Friday, giving the vaccine, as well as helping with the check-in and monitoring processes. First-year nursing student Nicole Cercy was one of them.
“I’m super-passionate about getting the vaccine out there and bringing an end to covid,” she said. “It’s really exciting to be giving the vaccine to patients.”
Cercy’s classmate Ashley Napear was also enthusiastic to be taking part in the vaccination effort.
“I just think that this so important so we can get back to a somewhat normal, or post-covid, society,” she said. “People are so excited to be here.”
Janet Frye, of Woodstock, was one of the hundreds of people relieved to have received a shot in the arm.
“The clinic was very nice, very easy, and everything was explained so well,” she said. “I feel happy now that I have the shot.”
Larry Adams Sr. said he was grateful to Laurel Ridge’s nursing students and staff, as well as Rotz Pharmacy.
“I have never seen such a well-organized group of people that took on a project of this capacity in my entire 40 years of military service,” he said. “Patients were sent to each station, making them comfortable and relaxed and on the scheduled time. Thank all of you for your service to me and the community.”
The pandemic has made it more difficult for nursing students to complete the clinical requirements of the program, according to adjunct faculty member Beverley Ridings.
“This helps them with their community health experience,” she explained. “It also gives them the hands-on experience for administering injections. I think it is also helping them with their communication skills. The students have been phenomenal today.”
Another adjunct faculty member Larry Symenow was impressed with what he saw during the clinic.
“This is one of the smoothest operations I’ve ever seen,” he said. “I was in the military for 26 years and this tops all the deployment lines I’ve seen. The flow of it, the timing, the number of patients per hour and the monitoring. Jason’s pharmacy staff made sure everything was prepped for us.”
Those who received the vaccine last week will return to Laurel Ridge for follow-up shots on April 2.
Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.
Laurel Ridge Community College (Laurel Ridge) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College. Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.
Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.