WATERBURY, CT (WFSB) - Nearly one year into the pandemic, teachers and school staff are getting ready to roll up their sleeves and receive their doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Gov. Ned Lamont shared new details on the state’s vaccine rollout in Waterbury on Thursday.
Channel 3 learned that there will be special clinics dedicated for school staff and those working in childcare settings. The state Department of Public Health added that most clinics will take place in late March.
For parents, students, and teachers, the last year has been full of stress and challenges.
“I think it brings a level of comfort to our people, it brings a level of commitment that we work jointly to make certain that we do care and we're going to be able to open schools for our students," said Waterbury Superintendent of Schools Verna Ruffin. "We see our most vulnerable students in elementary school that really need to see their teacher and be able to learn."
With many students still struggling to adapt to remote learning, educators hope that getting vaccinated will mean more in-person class time.
Starting March 1, vaccine eligibility opens to pre-kindergarten through 12th grade teachers, staff and professional childcare providers.
It’s a move for which the state’s largest teachers union, the Connecticut Education Association, has been pushing.
“We are there to provide a positive learning environment for our students and it is doubly difficult to do that when your anxiety is always peaked,” said Meghan Hatch-Geary, English teacher, Regional School District 16.
The DPH said it will take time for there to be sufficient supply of vaccine to offer first doses to all education and childcare professionals.
A new study by the Rise Network found that only 54-percent of high school students learning fully remote were on track to graduate. That was compared with 74-percent of classmates using the hybrid method.
The study looked at 10 high schools in the state's Alliance Program for the lowest performing school districts.
“Now we’re doing wake-up calls,” explained Matt Ryan, principal, East Hartford High School. “We have more visits going out every day.”
Concerns over students falling behind are among the many reasons why the CEA has been pushing for teachers to get vaccinated soon.
“We are excited, we can’t wait. We already scheduled our appointments and we are ready to go," said Waterbury teacher Danielle Byron.
“We are ready to get our kids back in school. We know they want to be back in school, but they want to be safe. They need us to be able to say we feel safe for them to feel safe," said Waterbury teacher Karlyn Fitzpatrick.
Waterbury has made plans for its teachers to get vaccinated at the Waterbury Arts Magnet School.
For information about the state's vaccine rollout, head here.