More than 400 staff of Whitley County and Williamsburg schools will receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Whitley County Middle School over a three-day period this week.
Beginning Tuesday, the vaccines were distributed by the ARH hospital from Barbourville. Vaccines will also be distributed Wednesday and Thursday.
When staff arrived at the school, they brought the required paperwork with them as well as copies of the documents needed. A vaccine card was filled out for them and they were registered by hospital staff. Once registered, they would wait until a hospital worker directed them to a booth to receive their vaccine. After the shot, staff were directed to the school’s cafeteria where they were monitored for any reaction to the vaccine. Once the staff had waited the required 15 minutes and had not exhibited a reaction, they were free to return to their respective schools.
“This is a great opportunity,” said Tracy Croley, a teacher in business and marketing at Whitley County High School. “I am excited about it.”
Croley’s sentiments were echoed by district instructional coach and gifted and talented coordinator Ruth Osborne.
“I feel like it is important for us all to be vaccinated if possible,” said Osborne. “I can’t wait for it to be opened up to people with pre-existing conditions and others who need it, as well, in our community.”
In a like manner, Boston Elementary School’s Library Media Specialist Angela Bowlin said, “I am not doing it for me. I am doing it for my nephews; I am doing it for my parents, and I am doing it for all the kids of Whitley County so that we can get back to a more normal schedule and resume school the way we are used to it being.”
All three personnel said that it was important for students to return to in-person classes.
“We have been able to meet the needs of our students the best we can, but it is still so different,” said Croley. “We prefer the contact with them and I think students need the routine and structure and most importantly the encouragement they receive from their teachers on a daily basis.”
Osborne said, “Our children’s education is very important and it’s important for our kids to have in-person instruction. While we are doing the very best that we can do, given our current situation, this will allow us to be able to provide better for our students and the opportunities that they deserve and want because our kids need to come back to school.”
Bowlin said that she looks forward to the days when students are able to return to the building.
“I look forward to just the students being in the building and seeing them smile and just being happy to see us. They miss us so much. When we were able to go back to school for a couple of weeks they would come in just so excited,” said Bowling. “I want the students to be able to come back to school and see their teachers and see their friends and learn.”