Local educators hope getting vaccinated will ease back-to-school uncertainty for students, parents

SPOKANE, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee announced the state’s educators and child care specialists are now eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday. 

Those educators say it was the news they’ve been waiting for. 

It was an announcement that kind of came out of nowhere. Teachers and daycare workers didn’t expect to get vaccinated until the spring or even summer. 

“We’re really thrilled to be included in the bump up,” said Rebecca Lee, owner of Green Gable Children’s Learning Center. 

Lee feels Tuesday’s announcement is a win for families. 

“We feel like parents are going to be much more confident about returning to the workplace because they’ll know that their child care center teachers are all protected,” said Lee. 

Vaccines will also go to educators, like Lauren Bergstedt, a lead teacher at Windsong School. 

“That added layer of protection to me is just a way to both keep my children, or my students and their families, safe as well,” said Bergstedt. 

She believes it’s a big step toward reopening schools even more. 

“I hope what this means is that kids can go back to in-person school and that we can maximize the in-person learning that we can do for the rest of the year,” said Bergstedt. 

It’s not clear if and when that would happen. Things will remain the same for now at the West Valley School District. 

“The sticking point is the six feet of physical distancing and if we can fit class sizes into that physical space that we have,” said Vicki Leifer, assistant superintendent at the West Valley School District. “We don’t see that changing anytime soon from what we hear.” 

Regardless of this uncertainty, Bergstedt and Lee say they’re ready to book their vaccine appointments with the hope it will give parents and students a little more peace of mind. 

The Washington Department of Health says it wants to make sure it will have enough shots for everyone eligible. The DOH says vaccines will likely be delivered through the Federal Pharmacy Program, and providers should prioritize those workers.

READ: Washington educators and child care workers can now receive the COVID-19 vaccine