WHS teachers voice the obstacles associated with getting their vaccine

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Credit: Taylor McGuire

Many WHS teachers have received their COVID-19 vaccines, but the process came with obstacles. With so few appointments available, some teachers had to wake up early, drive to far locations and simply be available if an appointment opened up at anytime. “The first round was hard when they were only being offered through CVS,” WHS French teacher Sara Langelier said. “It was very difficult to get an appointment because the sites were just backed up and you had to get up really early in the morning in order to get on.”

Tess Alongi

With the pandemic still looming, many teachers are anxious about going to school without having received their COVID-19 vaccination. Now with the plan to reopen school five days a week starting on April 27, many teachers feel it’s critical that they get vaccinated.

On Wednesday, March 3, federal vaccination locations started administering vaccines to teachers while Massachusetts state vaccination sites started on Thursday, March 11. CVS followed federal guidelines rather than state guidelines, so it started vaccinating teachers earlier, but these appointments were very limited.

“The first round was hard when they were only being offered through CVS,” WHS French teacher Sara Langelier said. “It was very difficult to get an appointment because the sites were just backed up, and you had to get up really early in the morning in order to get on. A few people in my department were able to get appointments through CVS, but a lot of us weren’t, and we were getting up at five in the morning trying to get on.”

WHS math teacher Deborah Buchman got a vaccine appointment through CVS.

“Early Thursday morning on March 4, I got up and went on the CVS website around 5 a.m. and was able to find an appointment,” Buchman said. “I got lucky, and it was not hard, but many of my teacher friends are having a very difficult time getting an appointment.”

Although getting an appointment has been difficult for teachers, the actual vaccination process has been seamless for them.

“[The process to get vaccinated was] very easy,” Buchman said. “I just walked in and waited in line, and within a few minutes, they called me in to get my shot.”

In Massachusetts, the Baker administration rejected the idea of administering vaccines in school that would allow all teachers all get appointments and not have to miss school. As a result, some teachers have had to miss school because of the limited vaccination appointments.

“I have had at least three classes in the past week that [were] frees because teachers were out getting their vaccines,” sophomore Lila Powers said. “Teachers have had to let us self learn [when they are absent] instead of teaching us, and I don’t do very well with that.”

Buchman will have both of her doses administered by WHS’s all-in return date, and will have also waited the required two weeks following her second shot to be fully immunized, but many teachers will not.

Although not all teachers will be fully immunized, Langelier feels like the school environment has been pretty safe.

“Honestly I feel that the masks, hand-washing, hand sanitizing and cleaning have worked really well,” Langelier said. “We haven’t seen a huge spread in schools at all, so I am not somebody who worries too much about it. If people are following the protocol, I feel pretty safe.”

With that being said, both Langelier and Buchman agree that they will feel more comfortable going back to all-in school vaccinated. Although teachers aren’t required to get vaccinated, Langelier and Buchman think that most will.

“I do feel like most teachers are [getting vaccinated],” Langelier said. “So far, I haven’t heard of any teachers that are not getting it.”