Vaccine eligibility contradictory, causes confusion for teachers

+Due+to+confusion+with+the+state+of+Connecticut%2C+some+teachers+have+already+been+vaccinated+or+registered+to+be+vaccinated+even+though+they+are+not+technically+eligible+until+the+end+of+February%2C+or+even+March.+Currently%2C+only+phase+1a+and+the+beginning+of+1b+are+eligible+to+be+vaccinated%2C+and+teachers+are+in+the+later+part+of+phase+1b.%0A

Infographic by Audrey Kercher '23

Due to confusion with the state of Connecticut, some teachers have already been vaccinated or registered to be vaccinated even though they are not technically eligible until the end of February, or even March. Currently, only phase 1a and the beginning of 1b are eligible to be vaccinated, and teachers are in the later part of phase 1b.

Audrey Kercher '23

Earlier this month, Connecticut teachers were mistakenly notified by the state of Connecticut to book Covid-19 vaccine appointments despite not being eligible to get vaccinated until around March 1, as they are front-line essential workers who are to be vaccinated in the later stages of phase 1b.

Kristin Leahy, a teacher in the science department, is disappointed with the state’s organization and system of distribution of vaccines.

“It seems like the system is very disorganized and chaotic right now” Leahy said.

According to CT Gov, the official state website of Connecticut, vaccines are currently being distributed only to the beginning stages of phase 1b, meaning only individuals 65 and older, and not front line essential workers like teachers. 

There have been reports of people “skipping the COVID line” and getting their vaccinations before they are officially eligible. Latin teacher Perry Tavenner took issue with that.

“It isn’t right to cut in line while there are still shortages,” Tavenner said. “My exposure is less than many first responders, so I should have to wait in line.”

I think teachers getting the vaccine would make me a little more comfortable going to school, but the teachers do a good job already of keeping a safe distance, so it isn’t something that particularly concerns me.”

— Dylan Halky '23

Dylan Halky ’23 believes that teachers being vaccinated would help students feel safer about being in school, but it isn’t an issue troubling enough that would prioritize them over first responders and the elderly.

“I think teachers getting the vaccine would make me a little more comfortable going to school, but the teachers do a good job already of keeping a safe distance, so it isn’t something that particularly concerns me,” Halky said.

Despite the confusion, the bottom line is that teachers getting vaccinated will eventually bring Westport closer to schools returning fully in person, and the pandemic being over.

“The more people who get vaccinated,” Tavenner said, “the sooner the pandemic slows and life begins to return to normal.”