LOCKPORT, NY (WKBW) — Teachers who are part of the Phase 1-B are trying to book appointments to get the COVID vaccine.
In Niagara County, the Starpoint Central School District is working to do the best to support a teachers quest for the vaccine.
“We’ve set up kind of an information sharing system across the district,” remarked Dr. Sean Croft, superintendent.
Starpoint teacher Mike Luick headed into the Kenan Center in Lockport Wednesday morning for his second vaccine.
He booked his appointment last month, late at night, and after trying for five hours he was finally successful.
“It was definitely the wild west. Everyone trying to get an appointment.,” Luick reflected. “The best way I compare to is trying to get concert tickets 20-years ago, when yo kept clicking — you think you’ve got it — then you don’t and start all over.”
Due to privacy issues, we were not allowed inside.
Luick is also president of the Starpoint Teachers Association.
Luick said he's been doing his best to share information with teachers who want to get vaccinated.
Teachers are part of group 1-B in New York State. Fewer than half of all other states are prioritizing teachers right now to receive the vaccine.
“The majority of teachers I talk too are excited about getting the vaccine, but it's a personal decision that everyone has to make,” Luick noted.
Starpoint students currently attend two-days a week for in-person learning as part of hybrid model. Two days are spent at home in remote learning, Wednesdays are set aside for a non-learning check-in day.
Safety precautions surround teachers in the classroom, like plexiglass at their desk. But now they're taking steps to try and get vaccinated.
“We still have teachers that are logging on every morning and trying to get appointments that can't get appointments,” commented Croft.
Dr. Croft says if someone in the district knows that appointments are open at a location — they let everyone know.
“I see a big sigh of relief from the teachers who have gotten that second shot and I think it gives them a little more confidence,” remarked Croft.
The shot is providing an extra layer of safety.
But safety protocols, like mask wearing and social distancing must continue at schools.
Teachers have also remained diligent, sanitizing in between classes.
The superintendent and union leader both say the goal is to return students to classrooms five days a week.
New guidance from the CDC says teachers do not have to be vaccinated to go back to school.
“Teachers are a resilient group. They’re excited about the vaccine. We want to see kids back in the classroom as soon as possible,” replied Luick.
Luick said of the 230-Starpoint teachers he believes more than half have been vaccinated so far.
Superintendent Croft also praised the work of teachers, students and families.
He said they reviewed some reading and math results from the two-day a week, in-school learning, finding for now, students are “staying on pace”.
But Croft said that’s not good enough and is hoping at some point, with infection rates dropping, restriction will ease and allow more than 11 students inside a classroom at a time.
Croft said students with disabilities and English Language Learners are having the most difficulty with remote learning.
“They need to be five days a week, like every student does, but especially those students,” Croft responded.
“Until those guidelines change, schools are bound by the health and safety measures given by the government,” noted Luick.