LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Bobbie Lester led a line of JCPS nurses who came to an arena inside the Kentucky Expo Center to receive Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine on Friday; a crucial step toward reopening Kentucky’s largest school district to in-person learning.

"This shot is safe," Lester said, hoping to convert any remaining doubters among her peers. "And, by me being a nurse for Jefferson County Public Schools, I want to do my part. I want to go back to work. I want the children back in the classroom. And this is why I’m doing it today."

Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said by February, he hopes to begin vaccinating the rest of the nearly 13,000 staff members who make up the school district.

As other welcomed medical workers from the area driving into the queue, volunteers clad in yellow vests checked them in. At the other end, those wearing credentials with the word "Injector" delivered the goods to awaiting arms.

Dylan Vish, a University of Louisville med student with clinical duties, had volunteered at the operation each day since it opened on Monday. Despite receiving no pay, like the other volunteers, he had worked nearly 12 hours each shift.

"I’m excited to be here every day," he said through a UofL mask. "It’s super cool. And, you know, I still get home at a reasonable time and can relax."

With volunteers like Dylan and nurses like Bobbie, Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio hopes, by February, they can begin vaccinating the nearly 13,000 other JCPS employees — inching closer to a return to classrooms.