ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) -By the end of this week, hundreds of teachers in York County will get the COVID-19 vaccine.
All four York County districts got permission from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to start vaccinating teachers before Phase 1B starts next week.
The districts say vaccines will be given Friday at the PMC Clinic in Rock Hill. Appointments are being set up for school staff and teachers. It is a big step for these districts.
Wednesday’s announcement came as a surprise since it was earlier than expected, but teachers and school support staff put their names on a list agreeing to get a dose when it was their turn.
York District One, Rock Hill and Clover sent their teachers and staff over today. They will also come tomorrow. The districts set everyone up with appointments at the Rock Hill clinic.
Fort Mill is the only district making school virtual for students so teachers can get vaccinated. That is Friday. According to a spokesperson, more than 500 teachers and school staff will get a shot that day. The district will take another virtual day on the 26th so teachers can get vaccinated.
”I’ve been waiting for their plan and when I got the email yesterday that we got appointments it felt like relief and I was happy to be so well taken care of,” says Jennifer Reschly, a teacher.
”It’s a pretty good feeling,” says Lee Jordan, a school support staff who got vaccinated today.
A few days early, but it was finally their time. Teachers and school staff across York County rolled up their sleeve and got a shot.
”There’s an extra sense of security knowing that I have a barrier,” says one teacher.
Hundreds of teachers and school staff from three York County districts packed the line at Rock Hill vaccine clinic—eager to start the journey to COVID-19 immunity.
”Has to give parents peace of mind and has to get kids peace of mind so it just makes everybody just breathe a little easier,” says Jordan.
Where there is hope, there is worry. Time is not on Perry Wright’s side. It is what the high school custodian wants before his districts sticks everyone back in school.
”I don’t think they’re ready yet. I think we should play this year out then go back. I’ll just put it in God’s hands. Let Him take care of this,” says Wright.
For many teachers getting the vaccine means that extra layer of protection, but for some, this is a major protection when their classrooms do not have every safety measure health experts recommended.
”I’m in a classroom with no windows and not much ventilation and 20 kids,” says Reschly. “So I want to stay safe so I’m there for them and I want to stay safe for my two small children.”
But one thing they could all agree on, this is just the step they needed to get back to normal.
”Everyone in the school having that extra protection is perfect for us right now,” says another teacher.
WBTV asked the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Dr. Linda Bell how many vaccinated teachers and school staff it would take for schools to build enough immunity and be safe.
She did not quite answer the question, but says schools that are following the guidelines like social distancing, masks wearing and using proper barriers should be considered safe.