Teachers of All Ages Made Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccines


Gabriela McGrath Moreira

As teachers long for a face to face interaction with students a vaccine gives them hope that there is an end in sight.

Gabriela McGrath Moreira, Staff Writer

As the nation scrambles to administer COVID-19 vaccines, decisions have to be made about which Americans are vaccinated first. The teachers of Miami-Dade County are now being made eligible for vaccination regardless of age, according to federal guidelines.

While seniors still remain a priority, Florida leaders have recognized that reopening schools puts teachers at a greater risk of contracting the Coronavirus. This has motivated the state to vaccinate South Florida teachers to ensure they are safe in the school environment. Several teachers at Coral Gables Senior High have already been able to get their vaccines without much hassle, and have so far described their experiences with enthusiasm.

I miss having my students face-to-face and I miss the travel I do for the College Board in the summers. Advance Placement Europeans history teacher Ms. Landsea 

— Advanced Placement European history teacher Ms. Landsea

Ms. Landsea, one of Gables’ social studies teachers, was one of the first to get her vaccine. She recounts that her experience of getting the shot was “quick and painless” and overall a positive one. Ms. Landsea emphasizes that she misses having face-to-face students and making a genuine connection with her classes. Being granted the opportunity to get a vaccine gives her hope that the community is heading in the right direction.

Ms. Zaldivar, the Cavalier language arts teacher and Catharsis supervisor, felt like there was a “weight lifted” off her shoulders after getting the vaccine. The shot proved to her that there finally seems to be an end in sight to COVID-19 regulations and quarantine. Her experience was similar to Ms. Landsea’s in being quick and efficient.

Zaldivar notes that it is important to realize that Florida is still early in the process of getting everyone vaccinated. However, she looks forward to the day when families can gather around closely at the dinner table without having the constant worry of infecting loved ones.

“I am looking forward to being in a room with extended family and not constantly checking if there’s enough space between us,” Advanced Placement literature teacher Ms. Zaldivar said.

How schools are going to operate next year is still up in the air. Nevertheless, teachers like Ms. Landsea and Ms. Zaldivar are hoping for the best, but remain cautiously optimistic as kids under 16 are still not allowed to get the vaccine.

The pandemic created uncertainty that forced teachers to rush to adjust their curriculum due to online school. COVID-19 continues to cause Gables faculty to miss out on the student-teacher connection that is much easier to make physically. This pandemic has taken a toll on teachers and students alike, so much so that their desire is that vaccines will make enough of a difference that Cavaliers will be able to return physically next year.

As the vaccines continue to become more accessible, the hope is that soon enough senior citizens will be protected and they will no longer have to be a priority, therefore making the vaccine more available to other citizens, specifically educators and students. South Florida has taken a big step towards ensuring the safety as teachers and recognizing them as frontline workers who need protection.