By Amy Bleakley and Mason Kruse
Since the start of Covid-19, American citizens have been patiently waiting for the vaccine’s arrival. In the month of December, the first few distributions of the vaccine were made to front line health care workers. As time has gone on, more and more people have received the vaccine, but some people who are genuinely curious about when they will get the opportunity to get the vaccine are teachers. Batavia’s education has stuck to being in Hybrid style learning. Therefore, students are switching off every day with attending school, but teachers are in the building every day.
Many teachers have mixed emotions on whether or not they are considered a “priority” in receiving the vaccine. Dr. Lisa Hichens, Batavia superintendent, gave insight on what she has done to make sure the teachers get vaccinated soon.
“The KCHD and ROE put together a plan to vaccinate more than 11,000 educators in the county during the week of February 8,” she said. “In Batavia, we collected the names of all of the educators who were interested in becoming vaccinated. We shared a registration link with them, and they signed up for their own appointments.”
Hichens explained that during this time, she and other superintendents have been meeting weekly with all of the Kane County Public School Districts to come up with a plan to make sure that the education field gets their vaccinations. During this time Dr. Hichens also discussed the struggles they used.
“The hardest part was trying to come up with a plan with so many unknown variables,” but some things that she now knows is that there are “enough doses to vaccinate all of the Kane County educators, and the clinic for our staff will take place at the Kane County Fairgrounds.”
Dr. Hichens explained whether or not teachers should be required to get the vaccine or if the decision is for the staff to make themselves.
“The decision to get vaccinated solely belongs to the staff member,” she said. “There is not a state-wide requirement for people working in schools to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. We defer to the Illinois Department of Public Health for these types of policies, and they are not mandating the vaccination for anyone.”
No one is truly required or forced to get the vaccination anywhere in the world and is up to their body and their beliefs.
“All teachers who wanted to sign up for an appointment were able to, so we did not need to prioritize anyone,” Hichens said.
She explained that there is no certain order in vaccinations for staff at Batavia; it all basically boils down to who signed up to get the vaccine. Currently, the percent is “at least 75 percent of our staff will have received at least one dose by February 11.” In addition, about 78 percent of eligible teachers, or 11,500 people, have chosen to get the Covid vaccine in the Kane County Area according to The Chicago Tribune.
Dr. Hichens was able to open up a lot of information regarding the staff and the vaccinations at Batavia High School. Readers now understand the steps that administrators are having to take in order for teachers to become vaccinated. It is not an easy process, but with time and organization, Hichens has been able to create a plan for the teachers at Batavia.
Kyle Plate, a math teacher at Batavia High school, put a touch of his input on the topic of teacher vaccines. Platt mentioned that he is looking forward to being able to “go in public without a mask,” while also hoping for “a normal way of life.”
As one of the many teachers at Batavia, Plate was able to state his answer that may correspond to some other staff members, “Yes, but not necessarily because I’m concerned for my own health or well-being,” Plate said. “I know that my family is concerned for my health and they will be relieved once I’ve received the vaccine.”