The long race for vaccines

Caitlyn Mckinzie, Feature Editor

The Issaquah School District has been trying to access the Covid-19 vaccine for their staff since it came out. So the big question is, where is it?

“It’s been a countrywide and worldwide struggle to get access to vaccines,” principal Sean Martin said. “As a district, we’ve been trying to get staff and community members to the front of the line as soon as vaccines are available.”

Hospitals have been struggling to get their hands on the vaccine as well—it’s a finite resource, and everyone in the world is racing to be first in line. For the Issaquah School District, though, this race is coming to a close.

As of Monday, March 8, 2020, the district has gotten almost 1,200 doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

But now that it’s in reach, what will happen? Who will receive the vaccine? What’s next?

“Vaccination would start with people with medical conditions and people above a certain age,” Martin said. “Then they would go by age and work their way down the list the same way the rest of the community is.”

If a vaccine comes out that it is safe for children younger than sixteen, it’s uncertain whether or not it will be required to take to go back to school. There are several factors that would have to be addressed at a higher level.

However, Martin Turney, executive director of finance and support services in the district, said teachers will not be required to take the vaccine to go to work. Masks and other safety procedures will still be required.

For a lot of children, going back to school is a necessity for their continued success. This is especially true at the lower grade levels, as learning at the primary school age sets patterns and behaviors kids will need later in life. Still, virtual learning is challenging for even secondary students.

“I can’t retain as much of what I learn in class,” sophomore April Collier said. “I think going back to school would help my mental health and help me feel more motivated to complete assignments.”

Determining how to get everyone back safely has been a heavy and repeated discussion throughout the district and is a top priority for many people. Kindergarten through third grade has already gone back, and plans are in development for fourth through twelfth to do the same.

“It’s just about returning to in-person learning in a safe and healthy way for everybody,” Martin said. “How we best do that has been the one question everyone has been coming back to, and the vaccine would go a long way with that.”

An Issaquah District employee vaccination clinic is in the works, beginning the week of Monday, March 8. Hopefully, all staff who want the vaccine will receive it by the end of the week.

There are a lot of uncertainties when it comes to Covid-19, and even more with its vaccine. But the one thing that is certain is Liberty staff are trying their hardest to make learning manageable until in-person can resume. Many people—staff and students alike—are ready to be back.

“Nobody loves this,” Martin said. “We miss you guys. We would all love to have school up and running again.”