Governor Murphy announces vaccine rollout for teachers


Photo by Laura Channell

Vaccination site at Atlantic Health in Clark, N.J.

On March 1, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that the COVID-19 vaccine will be made available for K-12 teachers starting March 15. Teachers will join healthcare workers, law enforcement, senior citizens and at-risk citizens who are eligible to receive the vaccine. 

English Teacher Merit O’Hare said she is “definitely going to get the vaccine” in the coming weeks. However, O’Hare felt that this news should have come sooner than it did. “Of course we should prioritize older Americans and those with preexisting conditions, as they’re statistically more likely to require hospitalization. But since we’ve made hybrid learning a priority, it does seem that teachers should be included among those essential workers who qualified for the vaccine in group 1(B).”

WHS math teacher Erica Wright had a similar view on the rollout of the vaccines. “I think the eligibility ranking was appropriate. Our seniors and those at serious risk of being hospitalized should be first. I’m glad teachers are finally able to receive their vaccines. Like many other professions, we are all putting ourselves and our families at risk. Many of us have gone months without seeing close family members and friends because of the day-to-day contact we have with so many other people,” said Wright.

Many teachers believe that the vaccine is the first step in getting more students back. Science Teacher Christopher Tafelski said, “I think it’s important that teachers get the vaccine if we really want more kids coming back into the building this spring. School feels very safe right now because there are so few people in every classroom. But if we’re going to get back to having 10-15 students in each classroom, and 900 students walking the halls between classes, I think that sense of safety is going to be lost without vaccination.”

Vaccinating teachers will have an impact on learning going forward. It will give students and teachers an opportunity to finally begin to return to a normal school environment.