Educators are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as Pullman Public Schools slowly returns to in-person learning.
Superintendent Bob Maxwell said K-5 schools are in-person five days a week and sixth through 12th grade students are back in person two days a week.
“[Middle and high schoolers] will finish the year on a hybrid schedule of two days a week, and that’s due to the six-foot distancing regulations that are currently in place,” Maxwell said.
If students and families are not comfortable with their child returning to an in-person learning experience, Maxwell said there is an option for them to stay online with teachers who teach exclusively in a virtual setting.
Many returning teachers and staff members have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, vaccines are not required.
Lonna Carrier, kindergarten teacher at Franklin Elementary School, said she received the first dose, but that some people are choosing to delay their vaccination for various reasons. She said getting an appointment for the vaccine was not difficult.
“It’s up to each individual if they would like to get the vaccine at this time or not,” she said.
Pullman Public Schools staff members will continue to maintain a safe environment for students as more staff members get vaccinated. Maxwell said staff members are excited for the slow return to normal.
Maxwell said it was hard for people to initially get their vaccine when things were still shut down. But, as schools and establishments return to normal, community members, especially educators, can get vaccinated more easily.
The majority of staff members received vaccinations at staff clinics at the Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Event Center, he said.
Social distancing and sanitary precautions are upheld at Franklin Elementary even after staff members are vaccinated, Carrier said.
“We have universal masking, and the students are six feet apart,” she said. “We do frequent hand washing at specific times during the day, and we are also cohorting [students], so they’re really only with our class, they don’t mix with any other classes.”