Inside the Brambleton POD: an exclusive LCPS COVID vaccination site


After a year navigating the depths of the COVID-19 waters—distance learning, sport season modifications and virtual organizations and events —the LCPS community has progressed a few feet upward from the oceanic trenches. Vaccinations have been running smoothly for LCPS officials, and have brought with them a blazing sense of hope, a glimpse of shimmering light above the surface. 

On Dec. 11, 2020, the U.S Food and Drug Association (FDA) authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 years of age or older. Not far behind, the Moderna (mRNA-1273) COVID-19 vaccine was made ready-to-use just seven days later. Both vaccines, which require two doses intervally spaced, are now available to LCPS officials. 

“Officials,” meaning anyone who is employed by Loudoun County Public Schools, include teachers, administrators, bus drivers, custodians and a quantity of others. The grouping falls under the 1b vaccination category, according to the Virginia Department of Health. This status granted the individuals permission to receive COVID vaccines starting on Jan. 11. While these employees can conceivably make an appointment for any health department vaccination site in the county, Brambleton Middle School served as an exclusive Point of Distribution (POD) for LCPS officials. 

Healthcare workers have been administering both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine at the Brambleton POD since the initiation date of Jan. 15. The grand total of LCPS vaccinations as of Mar. 5 was approximately 21,000. The POD has proven to be a well-oiled machine.

Present at the Brambleton POD scene are all of Loudoun’s Student Health Services. Registered Nurses (R.N.s) from middle and high schools in Loudoun County, elementary school Health Clinic Specialists (H.C.Ss), and the Virginia Department of Health Nurses all show up to the job on a voluntary basis. 

“It’s averaging out to around 900 vaccines a day,” remarked Independence R.N., Christina Greene. Along with the rest of Student Health Services, Greene devotes more than 8 hours each week-day to administering vaccines at Brambleton Middle School. “I’m there Monday through Friday from 8:15 am to 5:30 pm.”

With such close proximity to the vaccination site, a trip just across the street, the officials of Independence High School are granted accessibility and ease. Furthermore, the Brambleton POD has been given the highest compliment of comparison to a Chick-fil-a drive through from multiple teachers and healthcare workers employed at the Independence. 

Initially, though, scheduling appointments posed some hardships. The original system of arranging appointments for officials was through Microsoft. On the very first night, Jan. 14, the initial setup proved to be inadequate. 

“That first night, it was a little bit crazy,” recounted Independence history teacher Mrs. Alyssa Griffin. “You would assume with Microsoft being a main, multi-national corporation, that they would be able to handle thousands of teachers trying to get scheduled at the same time. But they couldn’t.” 

There were mixups in the number and availability of appointments and various miscommunications. Griffin said, “I refreshed my iPad maybe 800 times before I got to the actual site where you could make an appointment. Then it said that there were appointments available, and then there weren’t.” Later, teachers received an email from the county that said all the appointments were taken. Griffin revealed that she got her appointment after that email had been sent, showing the general disorder of the process.

In response to the disorganization, LCPS created their own scheduling system over the following weekend. Every teacher received their own personal link in which appointments could be scheduled and kept track of. Once the frustrations were worked through, Independence teachers were more than impressed with the conduction of the vaccinations and the incredible healthcare workers that preside inside the POD.

“I’m extremely impressed. I think they did a wonderful job and everybody was very efficient,”  said Independence math teacher Mrs. Kristen Augsburger. Receiving the Moderna vaccine on Jan. 15, Augsburger noted that she was in and out in less than 30 minutes, even on the very first day o

Mrs. Alyssa Griffin poses with her COVID Vaccination Record Card

f operation.

Griffin, who also received the Moderna vaccine on Jan. 15, came to the same conclusion. She even compared the precise organization to that of Disney World. Signs and snaking lines, all appropriate for social distancing, decorated the inside of the school and provided direction. “Crazy smooth. The nurses in the county know what they’re doing. They did a great job,” applauded Griffin.


Those nurses run the place with pride. Greene expressed, “I just feel really proud to be part of it. I think all the nurses feel a really deep satisfaction that we’re making a difference and helping, and we all go home really proud at the end of the day.” 

There is no end date in sight for that satisfaction. “Right now, we’re committed to being there until all the second vaccinations are given,” said Greene. Pfizer requires a 21 day waiting period between doses, while Moderna takes 28. LCPS began releasing scheduling for second appointments on Feb. 11.

With the commencement of hybrid learning on Mar. 3, the Brambleton POD was forced to close. The return of students to the classroom reinstated LCPS healthcare workers to their home schools. LCPS officials who did not receive their vaccine before the closure began relocating to the County vaccination site in the Dulles mall, in what used to be Nordstrom, on Monday, Mar. 8. Remaining unvaccinated LCPS officials can receive their doses on subsequent Mondays at the County site. 

With every administered vaccine, LCPS gets a step closer to breaking the water’s surface to a new normal. Stroke by stroke.