The Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District is a step closer to resuming in-person classes as school nurses received their first of two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Several of the school nurses took advantage of a unique opportunity offered to Alameda County healthcare workers and received our first dose of the vaccine,” said Carolyn Reggiardo, a registered nurse and the district’s COVID-19 liaison.

“Our hope is that when more doses are [available] we will be ready to help vaccinate school staff. This is yet another tool in our toolbelt as we look towards the safe reopening of our schools,” Reggiardo added.

Along with Reggiardo, school nurses Catherine Arthur, Shelley Casey, and Julie Howard received the vaccine on Jan. 13.

Superintendent Kelly Bowers said it was critical that the nurses be vaccinated “as they are specially trained and certified to assess staff and students for COVID-19, conduct contact tracing, administer our COVID screening tests, and eventually administer vaccines to employees.”

“We are relying on them heavily during this pandemic and we need them to stay healthy in order for our students and staff to stay healthy,” Bowers said.

The Alameda County Department of Education approved the district’s reopening plan in December, but those plans were put on hold following an increase in COVID-19 cases put the county in the state’s highest risk “purple tier” category.

Under the state’s color-coded system for tracking COVID-19, purple indicates “widespread” cases of the disease. Schools will not be allowed to reopen until the county moves into the red tier -- indicating a “substantial” number of cases -- for at least two weeks.