With the continued distribution of the different COVID-19 vaccines around the world and some newly discovered side effects, thoughts about receiving the vaccine are changing all the time.
When asked how the vaccine rollout has affected his daily life, seventh-grader Sawyer Burtman said, “I’ve been able to do more things, like at school I’ve been able to get closer to my peers, and play spikeball at mask break.” Eighth-grader Ethan Miller agreed and believes it will open up more options for students in the future. “If more people get vaccinated maybe we can go mask off,” he said.
In early March, KO faculty and staff received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. When asked how he felt about the teachers getting the vaccine, Sawyer said, “I think that this is a good thing because it is making the KO community a safer place.”
However, some concerns arose when this particular vaccine was paused due to six U.S. cases of rare blood clots. In response to the concerns, English teacher Kyle Chapman expressed concern that it could lead to more hesitations to receive the vaccine. “It’s such a small number of people that I’m just worried that this is going to make people that are hesitant about getting the vaccine even more hesitant about getting it,” he said. Sawyer agreed with Mr. Chapman, adding that he wasn’t too worried about it since very few people have experienced side effects.
In terms of mask-wearing, Ethan Miller isn’t wearing it as much as he used to, and feels that the risk is not as high as it used to be. “It’s gotten safer and especially when I went to Florida, I saw a lot of people weren’t wearing masks.” Sawyer feels the same way about mask-wearing. “I’m basically wearing it as much as I used to but during after-school sports I’ve been able to take my mask off.”
Now that KO faculty and staff have been vaccinated, day to day interactions have changed dramatically. “If i’m in a room with another teacher that I know has been vaccinated I’ll take it off, which I never would have done beforehand,” Mr. Chapman said. Interactions with his parents have changed too. “With my family, people that have been vaccinated like my parents and my wife’s parents I take off my mask.”
The vaccine has changed many people’s thoughts about the future of the school environment and how they choose to interact with their peers and teacher. It will continue to do so until we are all safe.