Teacher vaccinations provide a new sense of hope for hybrid learning


Joel Levin

Joel Levin stops for a selfie post-vaccination at Nordhoff high school.

Sahel Schaab, Editor-in-Chief

With the reopening of schools right around the corner, there are mixed emotions among teachers and students alike. Teachers have begun to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations in preparation for the return to in-person instruction on March 31.

“…my husband and I both; because we are both teachers, were able to both go on Friday [Feb. 26] up to Nordoff and get our first vaccine,” English teacher Katherine Loughman said.

Adults who are considered “frontline essential workers” and those who work in the “educational sector” were among the phase 1b group to receive the vaccine, according to the CDC’s vaccine rollout recommendations. This group includes some of our very own Buena staff.

“I was anticipating having to wait for the district to do their big vaccination jamboree, but as it was, I managed to sneak in a little bit earlier…my wife is also a teacher, so the two of us managed to snag a couple slots earlier than anticipated,” librarian Joel Levin said. “It was such a relief. I know a few people who got vaccinated who were like, ‘It feels like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.’”

Receiving the vaccine is more than a safety measure for many; It symbolizes human advancement and even allows for a newly found peace of mind among families.

“I think the creation of this vaccine is a triumph of science. For me, it means that after my second dose, I can visit with my parents and my 90 year old grandparents again without the fear that I will get them sick,” English teacher Karin Childress said. “It means that my daughter can go back to school soon. It means that I can work with my students again, which I believe will boost my spirits a great deal.”

Opinions on returning to school in-person vary, but many feel it will be safe to do so once they have received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I’m still nervous about it. Hopefully I’ll get my second shot at the end of the month…I do worry about the safety and well being of the students and I’ll feel a lot safer myself knowing that I’ll be fully vaccinated at that point,” Levin said.

There is an increasing sense of security as a result of the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine among educators. Teachers and staff have begun to feel that safely returning to in-person instruction can become a reality.

“Since I will have my second dose two weeks before I will potentially be back in person with students, I do feel much safer returning to school. I was very concerned about potentially catching or spreading COVID to students, staff, or my family, and the vaccine gives me more security,” Childress said.

Studies have shown that Americans are becoming more hopeful in regards to the potential success of the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the Pew Research Center, “the share of Americans who say they plan to get vaccinated has increased as the public has grown more confident that the development process will deliver a safe and effective vaccine.”

“…the foundation of the COVID-19 vaccine was already in place, people have been spending years, and years, and years working on a similar kind of vaccine set up. They had the Bisquick ready to go. It was just a matter of adapting it to specifically target COVID-19…I trust the science, I trust the scientists,” Levin said.

Distance learning has undoubtedly created a new set of obstacles for teachers, students, and families. Although returning to school would provide some sense of normalcy for students, there is growing concern about their personal safety.

“I think that returning to in-person learning is irresponsible and not only endangering people at risk but students as this virus is possibly deadly towards young people too,” senior Eric Aranda said. “A majority of young people won’t be able to get vaccinated for months, it’s very risky.”

Mental health has also taken its toll on students’ desire to return to campus. With virtual learning becoming the new normal, students are not convinced that in-person classes are necessary.

“Unfortunately the pandemic [has] been consuming quite a bit of our social experiences and had definitely deteriorated my interest in ever returning to campus,” senior Lezanne Touma said. “Not only did our mental health and ability to learn change, the way in which our teachers produced their curriculum changed drastically as well.”

Hybrid learning will commence at the end of the month, with proper safety precautions in place. Students will be required to wear a mask at all times, implement proper social distancing protocols, and are expected to conduct their own wellness check before coming to school. Even with these safety precautions in place, uneasy feelings among students are common.

“I’m a little skeptical on whether or not this whole thing will work out,” senior Diego Ramirez

Karin Childress poses for a selfie post-vaccination. (Karin Childress)


Despite the mixed feelings about hybrid learning, the common goal still remains- helping students reach their educational goals and providing a supportive learning environment. The availability of vaccines for teachers will provide a sense of security for the health and well being of students and staff.

“Stay strong Bulldog nation! We will prevail over all of this and be stronger for it in the end. I believe Buena has heart and through these tough struggles we are building a stronger community,” Childress said.