School is starting soon, and Central Texas students will certainly face unique challenges this fall. Unfortunately, one of those challenges is the continued spread of COVID-19.

Cases are on the rise in Bell County, and Belton ISD is hoping to make a dent in the problem by offering two free walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinics.

Note: While the clinics are primarily aimed at getting BISD students and parents vaccinated, all community members are welcome. So, even if you're not a Belton student or parent, you can receive a free initial dose of the Pfizer vaccine at one of the two clinics scheduled this month.

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After you receive your first dose, they'll schedule you for dose 2 (again, free of charge) and get you all the information you'll need.

The first clinic is scheduled for Friday, August 13 from 3 PM to 7 PM at Southwest Elementary, 611 Saunders Street. Anyone age 12 or over is welcome to attend, but a child under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. This clinic is courtesy of a partnership between Belton ISD and the National Guard.

The second clinic is scheduled for Monday, August 16 from 9 AM to 3 PM at South Belton Middle School, 805 Sagebrush Drive. The same age rules apply, and in addition to the free Pfizer vaccine, this clinic will also offer additional immunizations that students may need ahead of the new school year. The Bell County Public Health District is helping make this clinic possible.

“Our hope is that offering community-wide vaccine clinics at our campuses will make it easier and more convenient for families to prioritize the steps they can take to support a healthy school year,” said Marylisa Fanning, director of Health Services in Belton ISD. “We are thankful to have community partners come alongside us to help make this possible.”

“We hope all community members, not just those connected to Belton ISD, will take advantage of this opportunity if it's helpful to them,” Fanning said. “As a reminder, Belton ISD does not require staff or students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but we’re happy to help make it available to those who want it.”

Again, these are walk-in clinics, so no appointment is necessary. Please be sure to wear a mask if you attend to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Together, we can put this pandemic behind us. Vaccines are an important step in getting there, so please consider attending one of these clinics if you've not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine. There's no telling how many lives you may save.

It's Time to 'Stuff the Bus' for Central Texas Students

The new school year is just around the corner, and Central Texas students will face unique challenges as we put the pandemic behind us and look to the future.

One challenge no child should face is being without the essential school supplies they'll need to live up to their potential and achieve academic success.

That's where you and I come in. From July 19 to August 15, you can donate school supplies at the following locations. Donated supplies will benefit students in need in Belton ISD, Killeen ISD, and Temple ISD. (Click each district to view their 2021-2022 school supply lists.)

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The 2021 Bell County Comic Con was another huge success. While the celebrity guests and panels are great, my absolute favorite part of the con is seeing all the fans who cosplay in tribute to their favorite characters. Let's take a look at some of this year's best!

Here's What's Happening at This Year's Central Texas State Fair

After taking a year off in 2020, the Central Texas State Fair returns this September with everything you love about a rip-roarin' good time at the Bell County Expo Center! Here's your guide to the great shows, music, food, and rodeo action you expect as they do it big for 2021.