Students, teachers and parents alike have been wondering what teen vaccines mean for school reopenings. According to the Fairfax County COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ updated this week, “all individuals in the Fairfax Health District who are 16 or older are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.”
This begs the question: what does this vaccine news mean for schools next year? For some parents, the ability to get their kids vaccinated will definitely be relieving, especially parents who have yet to send their children back to school in person. It’s most likely that in-person learning will return next year, and that virtual learning may not even be an option in the next coming year.
Still, it can’t help but be contemplated whether or not the coming of the vaccine will produce enough comfort to get everyone back in school. Most high schools reopened even before the vaccine was available to teens, and the failure of immunization is still a threat to people everywhere.
It’s important that schools don’t just revert to the days before COVID. A vaccine doesn’t always equal safety, so social distancing is likely to be maintained. This will be especially difficult if all students return to school full-time, and will likely rouse a few issues. Even if vaccination becomes a requirement in all public schools (it’s still unclear whether schools will mandate or encourage vaccinations), students and teachers can’t just ditch their masks and expect normalcy. Schools in Northern Virginia have also opted to no longer have three feet of space between desks, in order to fit students into classrooms.
The mindsets of other people also have to be considered. Children vaccination rates have been relatively low, and with schools that have already opened full-time, that low rate likely won’t make much of a difference. According to the Harbor Health Services the “daily vaccination rates in the US have peaked and declined from a high of 3.2 million daily vaccine administrations per day to 2.5 million,” meaning there’s been a negative spike in vaccination rates. Some people don’t appear to realize that while they’re less likely to, children can still contract and spread the disease, and with fewer of them being vaccinated, there’s a future of outbreaks for a virus we hoped to eradicate.
It’ll be nice to see everyone back in school again full-time, and the covid vaccine may look like a glass of water in a desert, but be sure not to overlook vaccine hesitancy, the need for social distancing and overall upkeep of safety.
The Coronavirus should not be treated like the seasonal flu even with the possibility of immunization, masks and isolation are necessary precautions.