GAUTIER, Miss. (WLOX) - Many jobs have been able to evolve during the pandemic with Zoom meetings and conference calls, but most educators will tell you distance learning just isn’t the same. So, when COVID-19 vaccinations were opened to school employees this week, many teachers were relieved.
The Pascagoula-Gautier School District is working with Pascagoula’s Singing River Health System to set up sites for employees.
Administrators said that the classrooms will be covered by other teachers in schools, while the head teachers are getting the vaccine.
The school district’s lead nurse, Christy Tingle said she’s relieved that employees will get the chance to have protection against the COVID-19 virus. She said that employees jumped on the opportunity.
“We had 150 slots available, that’s how many vaccines Singing River had for us, and we actually filled up 148 of them,” said Tingle.
Tingle said that most employees have already gotten the COVID-19 vaccine because they fit the requirements of being between the ages of 18-64 with health issues, and over the age of 65.
Tingle explained that even though the district had positive COVID-19 cases, she said vaccines are vital for employees.
“They’re around all the children on a daily basis,” said Tingle. “We’re doing our best with social distancing, the kids are doing great with the face masks, but the bottom line is we’re all still together inside of a building. Anything we can do, since educators are considered essential workers and they have to be here anyway, even if they should be quarantining--the best thing to do is to be able to allow them to have a vaccine and give them just a little extra protection.”
Robert Castaneda is a third-grade teacher at College Park Elementary School and he’s one of many who signed up for the vaccine. He said that he’s apprehensive about getting the vaccine, but he knows it’s best.
“I’m a little nervous, but I’m all for it. If I have to be here for my kiddos, then that’s one thing I have to do,” said Castaneda.
Castaneda also said that while there weren’t any COVID-19 outbreaks in his classroom, he still wants to be protected.
“I also realize we have a job,” said Castaneda. “That job is to teach them, and if they have to be here then we’ll be here.”
We’re told the vaccine sites for employees will be at Gautier’s Singing River Academy’s Gym and Pascagoula’s Aaron Jones Family Interactive Center.
Watch “Mississippi Tested: The COVID Fight Now and in the Future” Thursday, March 11th at 6:30 p.m. on WLOX CBS.