Vaccines not considered necessary for hybrid

Teachers await vaccines

Based+on+current+guidelines+from+the+CDC%2C+schools+do+not+have+to+wait+for+teachers+to+be+vaccinated.

Art by Sophie Livingston

Based on current guidelines from the CDC, schools do not have to wait for teachers to be vaccinated.

Tobias Khabie and Talia Lissauer

After english teacher Andy Wilkes received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, he said obtaining the vaccine was like with winning a lottery.

“HR sent out the sign-up for the State Clearinghouse. Districts (were) given (a) certain amount of dosages and you sent in your name and your data, and you just got drawn,” Wilkes said. 

Based on current guidelines from the CDC, schools do not have to wait for teachers to be vaccinated. According to Superintendent Astein Osei, Park is taking all the necessary precautions to safely move forward with the hybrid learning model without requiring vaccines.

“For every staff member that wants to be vaccinated, I want them to have that opportunity,” Osei said. “But that is not going to be a determining factor on if we move forward with less restrictive educational delivery models.” 

Minnesota has a COVID-19 vaccine pilot program available for teachers where each school district was allocated a certain amount of slots. Across the state, districts were not following all of the rules so not everyone got a slot. 

The state eventually decided to take over the vaccination distribution and directly communicate with the staff. While it is constantly changing, Osei said the state is prioritizing schools that are offering in-person learning with the highest COVID-19 cases. Osei said the state is prioritizing schools that are offering in-person learning with the highest COVID-19 cases. 

While sophomore Rachel Katzovitz said she thinks teachers should get vaccinated, she doesn’t believe it should be mandatory.

“It’s a good idea for all teachers to be vaccinated, but you can’t force someone to do something, especially if it’s their body, it’s their choice,” Katzovitz said. “But I do think it’s a good idea with the science behind it.”

For every staff member that wants to be vaccinated, I want them to have that opportunity.”

— Astein Osei

Because she doesn’t trust the contents of the vaccine, freshman Ruth Kanyinku said she believes the staff getting vaccinated will do more harm than good, despite conclusive evidence that says otherwise, according to the CDC.

“I honestly don’t think teachers should be vaccinated just because I don’t think what’s in the vaccine is healthy for our bodies,” Kanyinku said. 

As for the teachers who choose not to get the vaccine, Katzovitz said as long as they are taking the proper precautions to stay safe, they should be allowed to teach.

“As long as teachers who refuse to take the vaccine are safe at work — wearing a mask the whole time, maintaining social distance, being a safe in their classroom and also setting that example to students that they need to respect of the rules and guidelines that we have for going back to school — I think it would be okay if they didn’t take the vaccine,” Katovitz said.

The district is also implementing other precautions, such as biweekly COVID-19 testing for staff members, but according to Wilkes, the district can only do so much with a small amount of vaccine doses.

“They’re doing everything they can, there’s such limited supply (of doses) but they’re doing a saliva testing regimen and we’re going to be doing that every two weeks,” Wilkes said. “It’s really trying to make the decisions that’s best for the safety, not only of staff, but also for students.”