A Return to In-Person Learning? Vaccines on the Horizon for Teachers, Students

In many states, schools have been shuttered for nearly 11 months. Some districts have developed comprehensive distance learning curriculums. Others hand out paper homework packets each week for their students to complete.

While each methodology has its own pros, cons, successes and failures, one thing is clear – there is no substitute for in-person learning.

In short, the kids need to go back to school.

Logistically, however, it’s a case of easier said than done. Although many states are now including teachers along with healthcare workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities in their vaccine order, and some, like Oregon, are actually sending teachers to the head of the line, the truth is that there just aren’t enough doses to go around — yet.

Unsurprisingly, this has led to hesitancy about reopening schools. Teachers, secure in their knowledge that most schools are veritable petri dishes for even the mildest virus, are understandably nervous about going back to work during a global pandemic. But it’s not just teachers who are worried about potentially heading back to the classroom. Parents are equally nervous, especially since the vaccines are not yet approved for children.

People 18 and up are eligible for the Moderna vaccine. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is approved for people 16 and older. And although clinical trials are underway for younger kids, it could still be months before the 15 and younger set are eligible.

According to the Boston Children’s Hospital, both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna hope to have vaccines available for adolescents between the ages of 12-15 by the beginning of next school year. It may be early 2022 before the vaccine is approved for those under 12.

Fortunately, the coronavirus appears to affect children much less severely than it does adults. Many are entirely asymptomatic, and symptoms are mild for those who do get sick.

That doesn’t stop them from spreading the virus, however – a fact that the teachers spending all day in the classroom with them know all too well.

The choice to return to in-person learning lies with the individual states or, in some cases, the school districts within. While some may feel confident welcoming students back before a vaccine is widely available for teachers and students, others will certainly take a more hesitant approach.

Vaccinated or not, it is still critical to adhere to proper PPE usage. Door caddies from Protection First make it easier than ever for your facility to organize and access PPE when and where you need it. Explore our options today