Utah teachers began getting vaccinated against COVID-19 on Tuesday, and at-risk teachers in the Davis County School District who received their first dose say they are happy and relieved.
“I cried, I was so excited,” said kindergarten teacher Penny Bradshaw.
Davis County schools have been holding classes in person four days a week since November. Bradshaw, who has asthma and diabetes, said she has been out of school for the past month because of heart surgery. She will return to the classroom this week. She said having the vaccine makes her feel like she has a shield.
The drive-thru vaccination clinic set up by the Davis County Health Department at the Davis County Legacy Center in Farmington operated smoothly and was well organized, according to Bradshaw. After being vaccinated, people were required to wait 15 minutes to make sure they were safe to drive off. Bradshaw said she arrived around 11:30 a.m. and was out by noon.
Davis County Health Department spokesman Trevor Warner estimated that around 1,000 people who work for public and private schools in the county were vaccinated Tuesday. He said there are around 10,000 school employees in the county.
Protection from the two approved COVID-19 vaccines is not guaranteed until after the second dose, according to the Federal Drug Administration. Bradshaw said she can get her second dose after Feb. 2.
“I think this is our step out of the pandemic,” said Michael Crookston, a Davis High band teacher.
Crookston, who is diabetic, said he is grateful that the state is making it a priority to get teachers vaccinated. He said teachers do more than help students “tick off boxes” for credits — they play an important role in students’ lives. He said teachers also help the broader community by creating a safe, stable place for kids during the day.
Emily Greenup, a special education teacher who works with preschoolers, said the vaccine couldn’t come soon enough. She said her class is currently in quarantine because one of her assistants tested positive for COVID-19.
Greenup, who has an autoimmune disease, said teachers want to be in school with their students, but they also want to be safe. And she said students are safer as well when teachers are vaccinated.
“We feel like the vaccine will make their education and our safety a lot better,” said Greenup, adding that she feels like a weight has been lifted off her shoulders.