In-person educators should get vaccinated to keep everyone around them safe

Mollie Haughawout, Reporter

Teachers and other school staff in the state of California have been eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine since March 1. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state of California do not require educators to get the vaccine to return to in-person instruction, it would be beneficial for everyone around them if they receive it.

Educators should be vaccinated for schools to go back to in-person full time. Educators and school staff members are exposed to more people–including children, parents and coworkers–than the average person.

“At my school personally, because it is in-person learning, there is a lot more exposure–a lot more points of contact and there’s a lot of unknown variables with the students in the class and their level of exposure,” said Emily Hare, a special education teacher in the Conejo Valley Unified School District.

Hare said it can be tricky to know the real level of exposure for educators and school staff.

“It’s that circle of what you think your level of exposure is to what it actually is. Right now, most teachers have a max number of 15 students per classroom. And so if a teacher has 15 kids, they really don’t know where those 15 students have been outside of the classroom,” Hare said in a phone interview.

The CDC website states that all the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing COVID-19. “All COVID-19 vaccines that are in development are being carefully evaluated in clinical trials and will be authorized or approved only if they make it substantially less likely you’ll get COVID-19,” the CDC website states.

Nikki Hrach, a California Lutheran University alumna and special education teacher, said she thinks possible side effects are the only downside to the vaccine.

“I have no reservations about the vaccine, other than I am aware that side effects are likely to occur after the second dose and with the current dearth of substitute teachers, this could be an issue,” Hrach said in a phone interview.

Side effects can come with any vaccine, which can be scary to some people. However, since we have lived the way we have the last year or so, people are excited to see life after COVID-19.

“I already have my appointment booked,” Hrach said. “I have never been so excited for a vaccine.”

With all this in mind, educators should get vaccinated to keep themselves and others safe. They come into contact with so many people throughout the day, so it is in the best interest of the students they teach and their families if educators do their part to ensure everyone’s safety.