Westside Teachers Given Opportunity to Receive Vaccine


Benjamin Kutler

Educational workers, such as teachers at Westside, were recently allowed to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

As the COVID-19 vaccines begin to roll out, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has put out a recommendation for who should receive the vaccine first. Included in the second phase were those who work in the educational sector, categorized under “frontline essential workers.” Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Enid Schonewise expressed the importance of Westside educators getting their vaccines early on.

“Our educators have been vital through this entire pandemic and to the importance of our students,” Schonewise said. “Pre-K through seniors needed, in my opinion, to be in school and to have the opportunity to have an education in person. They’ve been on the frontline in this pandemic doing amazing work, and we wanted all of our employees to be safe.”

Schonewise said they sent out a survey to figure out which educators would want the vaccine.

“We created an interest form on one of our district staff platforms where they completed a survey, and we asked them if they were interested in getting the vaccine,” Schonewise said. “In our estimation, it was over 900 employees [that wanted the vaccine].”

English instructor Nathan Moseley stressed the importance of teachers getting their vaccines.

“I think a large part of it is the importance of having schools open and staying open,” Moseley said. “Teachers are around hundreds of kids a day. I think the biggest problem we’ve seen through the year is teachers having to quarantine or getting sick. It’s about keeping schools open and keeping teachers safe.”

Schonewise said she thinks that this opportunity has helped lighten the mood in school.

“Our staff members are feeling a sense of relief and are hopefully feeling safer,” Schonewise said.

Despite a large number of teachers getting the vaccine, Schonewise said the COVID-19 guidelines at Westside will most likely stay the same.

“In terms of how that might affect the protocol in place, we will follow CDC and Douglas County guidelines,” Schonewise said. “We want to be cautious and follow everything until we are told not to.”

Schonewise said they hit their first big vaccine-related milestone recently. 

“We are really excited to say that we have completed that first wave of first shots for any employees at Westside Community Schools,” Schonewise said. “It’s been a lot of work. Everyone has been very patient, [the weekend of March 20 was] a milestone that we will celebrate for sure.”

Moseley said he is also excited and that he is grateful to have gotten his vaccine.

“I am thankful I had the opportunity to get vaccinated,” Moseley said. “It’s pretty remarkable that one year later [after hearing about COVID-19], I got my vaccine.”