Moving vaccine clinic dates allows teachers to be attentive at school


Graphic by Julia Leitner ’23

Westport teachers’ vaccination dates have been moved later in the week in order to ensure that they will not be missing school days due to side effects.

Superintendent Thomas Scarice announced the decision to move Covid-19 vaccination clinic dates for teachers from Wednesdays to Thursdays on March 17. This was done to prepare for side effects that may occur from the vaccine, so teachers have to be sick (if they experience side effects) over the weekend, and will not miss days of teaching because of their vaccination. 

History teacher David Willick received his vaccine through the school.

“Moving the vaccine clinics one day later was certainly best for the district,” Willick said. “It may be difficult to staff the buildings if teachers and staff are forced to be out for a day or two because of side effects.” 

Staples teachers began receiving COVID-19 vaccinations through the school on March 4; a quick turnaround since educators and school staff became eligible for the vaccine in  Connecticut on March 1. Initially, Westport clinics were held on Wednesdays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Now, they are being held on Thursdays, at those same times. 

I think that it is a good move to have a virtual day on the vaccination days to ensure that all teachers can easily get access to the vaccine in an easy way,” English teacher Brendan Giolitto said. “It is helpful to not have to juggle in-person learning on that day.” 

As well as teachers, many parents agreed that moving the date of these clinics would be beneficial to both the school and their children. 

“I think that it is important for teachers to be experiencing side effects on the weekends only,” Westport parent Monica Siskand said. “I know that having substitutes in class is quite inefficient to the learning experience.”

Science teacher Heather Wirkus received her vaccines separate from the school on Feb. 18. She had experienced major reactions to the vaccination, making her lethargic for about 48 hours. Her side effects included soreness, chills, fatigue and headaches. 

Fortunately, I did not have to teach the following day, however, if I had to, I know that I would not have been as effective as I normally would be,” Wirkus said. “When I received my second vaccine, I anticipated experiencing side effects and took the following day off to recover.” 

It has been difficult this year to provide substitutes because schools are trying to limit the amount of people coming into the building who do not need to be there. Budget cuts have restricted their options as well. 

“Having substitute teachers is basically equivalent to having a free,” Molly Lynch ’23 said. “Especially when you are at home, there isn’t even a zoom.”

The new vaccination date was the day before Good Friday, when students and staff are provided a day off from school for the celebration. Some teachers feel it is unfair that they may not be able to participate fully in these holidays due to symptoms. 

“I think that it is probably the best option for the school in terms of sub coverage, especially if teachers get sick after their second vaccination,” History teacher Nell-Ayn Lynch said. “However, it might be challenging for teachers, especially if they get sick on Good Friday, a day that they may spend getting ready for the Easter holiday.”