When Jessica Molloy and Yarelis Morales ran into each other in the parking lot of the Prince George’s County Sports and Learning Complex in Maryland, the two kindergarten teachers at Caesar Chavez Immersion School did a happy dance together.
Both were there to get their first coronavirus vaccine shot.
“We’re very excited,” said Morales, with Molloy echoing her immediately.
“Very excited. We’ve been on Zoom talking about it for days,” Molloy said.
They both agreed that teaching kindergarten over Zoom is hard for the students, but the start of the vaccination process means they’re that much closer to getting back into the classroom again.
Neither of them were willing to go back into the classroom without a vaccination.
In fact, none of the teachers who showed up on Saturday felt any differently.
Marilyn Blackwell, a paraprofessional at Barnaby Manor Elementary in Oxon Hill was one of the first to show up. While she misses daily interactions with the kids, this was pretty much a mandatory step toward getting back into the classroom.
“Everyday you’re worried,” Blackwell said about the virus. “I’m ready to go back but I want to be safe.”
This was, in Prince George’s County School CEO Dr. Monica Goldson’s mind, a painless step toward getting there. She’s hoping all school employees will rush to get inoculated over the next six to eight weeks.
“I need them to take that vaccine to protect themselves, to protect our students, and to protect our student’s families, that’s it,” said Goldson.
She’s planning to have more information about a potential return to in-person learning by mid-February, though it was made pretty clear that the return is unlikely to happen by March 1, which is a date being pushed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.
However, weather permitting the county will see 1,408 shots given out this weekend with more to come in the weeks ahead.
“By mid-February I’ll have a better idea where we are with the distribution of vaccinations as well as where our metrics are and what we can do to make sure we support our families,” she said.