In the final months of the school year, the nationwide vaccination rate has skyrocketed. Within the next few months, the US is expected to have a surplus of vaccines, many more than what’s needed for the population. This increase in vaccines begs the question: how has this affected the local community, more specifically our school?
“I am very encouraged that we have options for vaccination,” school Principal Angela Gamez said, “and that this opens the doors for a return to a more normal world in the near future.”
Vaccines are definitely a part of the government’s plan to slowly and safely reopen schools nationwide. While the current minimum age to be vaccinated is 16, this number could be lowered pretty quickly. However, this depends on the continuation of the rapid vaccination rate nationwide.
“I am hopeful that this will lead to a more normal school year next year,” Gamez said, “not just for our district but for all districts in the state and nation.”
The district has begun plans to prepare a COVID-19 progression board, which will guide the district’s path forward out of the pandemic. This is accompanied by the increasing number of teachers and other staff who have been vaccinated.
“Right now, the district has put together a COVID preparedness team of parents, staff members, nurses, medical professionals, and the county epidemiologist to provide guidance for moving forward based on survey data and COVID-related numbers,” Gamez said. “This will assist our superintendent in making informed decisions for safety protocols moving forward.”
While the district has only one on campus vaccination site for now (Sycamore Springs), they have consistently communicated with local medical facilities in order to get teachers and other staff vaccinated.
“The district Human Resources office has been instrumental in alerting staff of vaccination opportunities and organizing local vaccination opportunities for staff and community members,” Gamez said.
The district also uses a lot of guidance from higher authorities, such as the state government’s education agency.
“TEA sets the standards for school districts,” Gamez said. “Sometimes TEA will give decision-making authority to districts on certain things.
Overall, the district’s plans to move forward are complicated by issues, such as how will remote students reintegrate. However, the district as a whole is confident in exiting the pandemic.
“Always optimistic,” Gamez said, in response to questioning her views of the future.
By Alec Stuart, News Editor