Some Teachers Face Vaccination Hardships Amidst Back to School Preparations

Data provided by the Fairfax County COVID-19 Vaccine and Registration page on the county website as of 2/17.

Data provided by the Fairfax County COVID-19 Vaccine and Registration page on the county website as of 2/17.

As schools are planning to open for in-person learning on March 2nd, 92% of Fairfax County educators have signed up to get the vaccine in order to make school safer for themselves and the students coming to school unvaccinated. 

Appointment scheduling began on January 14, but now in February many teachers have had their appointments cancelled and rescheduled very close to the school reopening date. According to District School Board Representative Karen Corbett Sanders, “There was a supply issue between INOVA and the Health Department, but now all vaccinations will go through the Health Department.” 

The School Board passed legislation to make the vaccination process prioritize 50% educators and first responders and 50% high risk and people 65 and up. “There was a survey created for all educators to take if they still needed the vaccine, and the county has now been reaching out to those based on the results of the survey,” Sanders said. 

Many West Po teachers have been affected by the vaccine cancellations, including English teacher Ms. Fleming. She signed up for the first dose of the vaccine on February 4th, the week allocated for high school teachers. “Unfortunately, many teachers didn’t heed the slot they were supposed to use and went earlier. Then there was a vaccine shortage and all appointments were put on hold,” she explained. Fleming received confirmation of her new appointment, but she was not able to schedule a second dose, so she is in the works of a new appointment. 

She is concerned for herself and others who will not be fully vaccinated by the time they have to go back to school, saying, “We are so close, why not wait until everyone is vaccinated? We are only talking two more weeks.” This is a reality for many teachers as there are less than 3 weeks until hybrid learning begins. 

English teacher Mr. Cadorette was one of the first teachers to be fully vaccinated, but faced harsh side effects in the process. “My symptoms after the first shot were like a bad cold or mild flu: put me out for about a day, but the second shot was much harder. I had the same symptoms but a lot heavier, and lasted almost three days,” he said. In the end, Cadorette believes it was all worth it to be able to return to the building on February 23rd. 

Sanders is optimistic for the future of vaccinating teachers moving forward, saying, “The amount of teachers signed up for the vaccination is exciting because it shows how committed they are to getting back into the classroom.”