District 86 staff vaccinations begin

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District 86 staff members begin receiving vaccinations as they are classified essential workers.

Throughout the week of Monday, Feb. 1, District 86 began distributing the first round of the Moderna, Inc. vaccine to its staff. This included teachers and administrators from Hinsdale Central, Hinsdale South, and even the feeder middle schools, including Clarendon Hills Middle School and Hinsdale Middle School. The district plans on distributing the second doses of vaccinations towards the beginning of March. 

“Teachers should definitely be receiving the vaccination,” said Liv Miller, junior. “Although teachers are not coming in complete contact with most students, as many are still not in school, they are essential in our community and should be a priority health-wise.” 

People who are eligible to be vaccinated have been divided into groups. The first group is known as 1A, which consists of citizens 65 and older, healthcare workers, and law enforcement workers. The next priority group is known as 1B, which consists of postal workers, grocery store workers, and educational workers. 

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois is currently in Phase 1B of vaccinating citizens. This has allowed the staff of District 86 to be eligible for vaccinations. However, Phase 1B does not guarantee that substitute teachers, sports coaches, or vendors, such as cafeteria workers, will receive the vaccine. Nonetheless, these individuals will be prioritized when the entirety of Phase 1B has been vaccinated.

Certain states are not yet allowing teachers to be vaccinated (Courtesy of ABC News)

District 86 has been provided with over 1,000 doses of the vaccine. Although this seems like plenty, the staff have been encouraged to receive their vaccination from their medical provider if possible, as the district’s supply can be passed onto others. Staff members are also not certified to be vaccinated if they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days and must wait for the next round. 

“I thought the vaccination was a great experience,” said Mr. John Williams, science teacher. “Everything went smoothly and it seemed so organized. They did a great job! Plus, I’m really grateful and proud of our school for getting the doses for us so quickly. My arm was sore for a few days, but not too bad. I also felt a little sick for a couple days.”

District 86 partnered with Jewel-Osco in order to make the vaccination process possible. Superintendent Tammy Prentiss estimated that around 75 staff members are being vaccinated per hour. Jewel-Osco also ensured that the vaccination fee would be sent straight to the recipient’s insurance company. If that individual was not insured, the vaccination would be free of charge. The small fees were necessary as the vaccination should be distributed in ‘emergence’, according to federal law. 

“None of my teachers really mentioned their vaccination experience, other than noting that it was quick and easy,” said Grace Stafford, junior. “I definitely think that teachers should be prioritized for the vaccination because they are exposed to a lot of different people.” 

Prentiss warned that although staff members are going to be vaccinated, it is important to continue taking precautions, such as maintaining six feet distance, and wearing masks that cover both the nose and mouth. As far as student vaccinations are concerned, the district does not yet have a thorough plan for the upcoming months.