By Lauren Azrin
The time has finally come – teachers have begun receiving their first dose of the Covid vaccine. Beginning January 11th, phase 1b of vaccine distribution began, which includes teachers as a group eligible for vaccination.
WPHS teachers have been eager to get the vaccine. “It’s been something that people are really jumping at and going to get, which is great,” said Dr. Ricca, Superintendent of Schools.
According to teachers, the process of getting the vaccine was very efficient. Teachers got their vaccinations at the County Center in White Plains. “They've created quite an impressive machine,” explained Mr. Levy, WPHS English teacher. “It's sort of like going to Disneyland -- you get on a long line, weave around and around, see different sights and end up with a dramatic conclusion -- which in this case, is a shot.”
Mrs. Simmons, another WPHS English teacher, explained that the whole process only took around 35 minutes.
Many teachers were enthusiastic about the opportunity. “I was very excited about getting the vaccine and proud to be one of the first teachers to get it,” said Mrs. Fleming, WPHS Science Research teacher. “As a science teacher, I trust and support our scientific community and the work they did to get these vaccines rolled out to the public as quickly and as efficiently as they could.”
According to Dr. Ricca, the school is encouraging teachers to get vaccinated and “doing everything we can to be as flexible as possible to allow people to go get vaccinated whenever they can get their appointment.”
Teachers are also excited about what the beginning of the vaccine rollout could mean for their teaching and for their students. “I hope the vaccine will allow us to bring more students back into the building so that we can start getting back to normal. I really miss my students,” explained Mrs. Simmons.
“I feel a sense of hope and encouragement about the future,” said Mrs. Fleming. “Having the vaccine makes me feel more comfortable about being in public now, and I am not as concerned for my own personal safety.”
The vaccination process will be crucial to the timeline of returning to school under a normal model. “I think it’s going to be a gamechanger,” said Dr. Ricca. “I think that the ability to get vaccinated if you’re able and willing is going to have everything to do with us being able to potentially return to a full density model where all of our students are able to attend school every day.”
Dr. Ricca hopes for a return to a full density model by the end of this school year but is certain that come September, students will be back in school full-time.
Teachers who have received the vaccine have encouraged anyone who is unsure to go out and get it. Most said it was painless and that they didn’t experience any side effects. “I hope that my experience will encourage those who may be hesitant to do so to get the vaccine,” explained Mrs. Fleming.
However long the vaccination process takes, it is exciting to know that we are finally approaching some sort of conclusion to this pandemic. In the words of Mr. Levy, “I'm happy to see a light at the end of the tunnel.”