On February 22nd, San Mateo County expanded vaccine eligibility to teachers and childcare workers. Many M-A teachers took advantage of this opportunity and scheduled vaccine appointments before the district returns to a hybrid model of in-person learning on April 5th. Of 58 teachers polled, 80.4% replied that they would expect to have had their first shot by March 19th.
Do You Plan on Having Had Your First COVID-19 Vaccine Shot by March 19th?
Teachers that didn’t plan on getting the vaccine by March 19th had several reasons. Some teachers wished to save the limited supply of vaccines for those more at risk, such as the elderly, while others were not getting the vaccine due to pregnancies or other medical concerns. Fully booked appointments or a lack of local appointments have also prevented some teachers from getting vaccinated.
52.7% of teachers said they would feel more comfortable returning to teach in-person upon receiving their first shot.
Will Getting the First Vaccine Shot Make You More Comfortable to go Back in Person?
While many teachers said they would feel more comfortable returning to hybrid instruction upon receiving their first shot, others still disagreed. One teacher said that they would feel more comfortable with returning to in-person hybrid learning, “once the school has taken the steps for proper ventilation in the classrooms, protocols for making masks mandatory for everyone, and hammering out the details for simultaneous online/in-person learning.” Percentage of Teachers Who Plan to Receive Their First Covid-19 Vaccine by March 19thWill Getting the First Vaccine Shot Make You More Comfortable to go Back in Person_
Many teachers were also concerned about student health regardless of whether they had been vaccinated or not. One teacher said, “It’s important for teachers to get vaccinated, but that still leaves the majority of our population (students) at risk, and if they get the virus, they can pass it on to their families and others they come into contact with. I feel comfortable teaching in person, but I don’t feel that it’s a good idea to do so unless students are vaccinated as well.”
Teachers expressed a range of emotions towards returning to hybrid learning. One explained that they felt the decision to return was unfair because “equity can be manipulated on all sides. The union has spent an inordinate amount of hours, and the teachers still are unable to truly hold power in this process.”
On the other side of the discussion, P.E. teacher Craig Carson said that “with the vaccine now available to teachers and San Mateo County moving into the red tier, there is no reason that students shouldn’t be back on campus starting right after spring break. Student’s mental health, socio-economic factors, and the simple fact that they haven’t been at school in almost a year should take precedent.”