By Ari Boldur
The COVID-19 vaccination is beginning its distribution throughout the country, and countless people are eager to get their doses of protection against the deadly virus. As the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines become more accessible, teachers are beginning to get vaccinated to help prevent the spread of the virus in school and the community.
New Hyde Park staff members, including Ms. Gelber, Mr. Ferrara, Dr. Yen, Ms. Mayo, Ms. Radonis, Ms. Phillip, and Mr. Isseks, have received the vaccine. Overall, the entire vaccination process went smoothly, and the staff did not miss much school time. For instance, on the day of his appointment, English teacher Mr. Ferrara only missed half a day of school. Even though the Jones Beach vaccination location had very long lines, he arrived at the site of vaccination about an hour early to avoid the wait time and received the shot in the comfort of his car.
“I didn’t realize how my mentality was mired down during COVID-19, but there, in that moment, was this breath of fresh air and I was ecstatic...”
“I was one of the few fortunate people to be able to get the vaccine very early at Jones Beach. Both instances were absolutely flawless. The state workers and military personnel at Jones Beach were professional and did a phenomenal job of expediting the whole process. Physically, I feel amazing. There were no side effects from both shots. Mentally, I do feel a slight sense of relief for myself knowing that I have this vaccine,” said Mr. Ferrara.
Other vaccination sites ran their operations differently. AP Biology teacher Ms. Gelber received her vaccination in a New York City high school, and the police blocked off streets and locations for parking to eliminate roadblocks and speed up the process. The people scheduled to take the vaccine were welcomed into the building, and there were organized stations for vaccine administration. Selfie stations were also in place so people could proudly show they were vaccinated. Unlike many others, Ms. Gelber’s experience was very fast; she was in and out in no time, and getting the vaccine has changed not only her physical health but her mental health as well.
“As soon as I got the shot, I felt this sensation of lightness, as though this great worry had just been lifted off me. I felt hopeful. I didn’t realize how my mentality was mired down during COVID-19, but there, in that moment, was this breath of fresh air and I was ecstatic,” said Ms. Gelber.
Since Ms. Gelber actually had the virus last spring, this was a monumental moment for her. The vaccination for COVID-19 was more than a shot; it shows the country is in the midst of moving forward. However, there is a long way to go before the country is able to fully recover from the effects of the pandemic.
Source from Ms. Gelber
AP Biology teacher Ms. Gelber takes a picture in front of the selfie station at the vaccination site.
“I think we have to call the military in and we need to get the vaccine to the neighborhoods. Right now it’s fine for the people who are computer savvy and have the time to schedule all of the appointments online. We need to get vans to do it for every block and get the military vehicles out to distribute it. The economy can’t come back until COVID is under control. We have to act now because then more mutations will develop. We will only get herd immunity if we get the vaccine out,” said Ms. Gelber.
The school district is also trying to find creative and efficient ways to provide vaccinations for the surrounding community. The Sewanhaka Central High School District was planning to start vaccination distribution Sunday, February 7, and staffers with appointments would have to get tested for COVID-19 on the Wednesday before. However, this plan was pushed back as the company that partnered with the district did not receive the shipment for vaccines in time. Therefore, the distributions will be tentatively scheduled in the near future, according to Assistant Superintendent Mr. Capozzi. Teachers and frontline workers alike are hopeful for a fast COVID-19 vaccine distribution that will push the nation closer toward the day the pandemic is under control.
Before vaccines are available to all students, teachers, and staff, contract tracing is used as a preventative measure in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. As of February 8, 2021, the district has decided to implement a district-wide contact tracing system to increase its efficiency and efficacy. Rather than reporting positive test results or known exposure to each school separately, students and teachers are asked to send their reports to a district-wide phone number or email and will then be contacted by the new company, Perrotta Consulting, that is now contracted to conduct all contact tracing throughout all district buildings.