BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. — This week, more than 200 educators from the Bonner Springs-Edwardsville school district, in Wyandotte County, rolled up their sleeves, getting the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
It come right before the district opens up to more in-person learning and teachers are relieved and excited to be moving forward.
Classrooms at Bonner Springs High School are still mostly empty. Right now, students attend in a half-day hybrid model.
“It’s really been a challenging year, but our teachers have done a great job rising to the challenge,” said Rick Moulin, Bonner Springs High School principal.
The next challenge is welcoming students back for in-person classes four days a week, starting Monday.
“I’m super excited. I can’t wait to have students, greeting them at the door and seeing them,” said Jan Madlock, Bonner Springs High School chemistry teacher.
Science teacher Jan Madlock knows there will be extra safety steps to follow and she’s incredibly grateful to see kids with an added layer of protection. This week, she and 200 Bonner Springs-Edwardsville USD 204 teachers got their first COVID-19 vaccine.
“I think anything that’s going to get us closer to some kind of normal or back to something that looks or resembles what we used to do, I was ready and willing to do whatever would get us there,” Madlock said.
The pandemic has been challenging for school nurse Brittney Atwood. She’s responsible for contact tracing and has run hundreds of COVID-19 tests this year. As a parent and nurse having the COVID-19 vaccine is a game changer. Knowing she can stay healthy, to keep caring for others.
“I think it gives me that reassurance that I feel protected but it also makes me want to work that much harder to protect those kids that are still sick and don’t have a vaccine yet,” Atwood said.
These educators know it’s also important to lead by example and hope as other teachers and people in the community get a chance to get vaccinated, they’ll take it.
“I think the kids are going to benefit and our teachers are going to be excited and it’s just going to be a great to be able to move to the next step,” Moulin said.
About 75% of Bonner Springs school staff decided to get the vaccine and about 100 of them still have to get there to get that first dose.
The district is looking to stagger when the second dose is given and is considering having remote learning days so teachers have extra time to recover from any possible vaccine side effects.