Teacher Vaccinations at Flint Hill

By Swetha Madiraju, Deputy Editor

COVID-19 has hit the world hard, reshaping education and how we as a society view school. Now, as the vaccine is being distributed to teachers and essential workers alike, I wondered how this vaccine had affected the teachers and staff at Flint Hill. 


In talking with Mrs. Doerfler, a teacher who plays an active part in the Classics Department at Flint Hill Upper School, I was able to gain insight into what this vaccine experience was like for teachers at Flint Hill. 


Teachers themselves did not have to pay out of their pockets to get vaccinated. As essential workers, they were given the opportunity to keep themselves and the students around them safe and healthy. They were administered the Pfizer vaccine, with vaccinations starting around late January. 


She mentioned that she had some symptoms after taking the first dose of the vaccine, but nothing out of the ordinary. 


“I had a sore arm for about 48 hours, and felt a little lethargic for about 36-48 hours or so, but it didn’t stop me from coming in to work.”


In her personal experience, she talked about the Fairfax Inova Hospital, where she was administered her first out of the two necessary doses of the vaccination. She is yet to take her second vaccination. 


“Fairfax Inova Hospital had a really good setup for administering the vaccine. They had a building that was dedicated to vaccinations only, so people didn’t have to worry about going into the hospital setting to get the vaccine. They made every attempt to be efficient. I hear stories from other places where there might have only been 5-10 nurses doing vaccinations, but there were dozens at Inova. There were even musicians and residents playing the violin in the waiting area… they had volunteers who were walking around the vaccinated offering to help. It was a very efficient process, and very safe and very orderly.”


When I questioned how the school was supporting her and her colleagues throughout this process, her response proved how successful Flint Hill has been in taking the right steps to ensure the safety of both teachers and students.


“As a matter of fact, Mr. Reed has said that if we needed coverage to go out and get the vaccine during the school day, that he would either arrange for it, or he would personally sit in with our students.”


The supportive system in place at Flint Hill proves that the school truly puts the safety of the members of our community first above all other concerns. 


“In terms of the vaccine rollout, the school has done a really good job in making sure that they support us in getting the vaccine”.


When asked about the general situation for teachers at Flint Hill during the Coronavirus pandemic, she stated that “the school has really shown a lot of compassion for teachers throughout COVID.”


Though she believes that the administering of the vaccine to teachers at Flint Hill was definitely a good decision for the school to make, she emphasized that we still must remain vigilant and take proper precautions as we have been in order to ensure the safety of all members of our community. 


“I haven’t stopped taking the same measures as before. Of course, the vaccine is not a panacea. It’s a useful tool. But, the vaccine isn’t 100% effective. It was an important step to take, but not the only step to take.” 


Putting things into perspective, the vaccine is only one extra precaution for teachers to take in order to keep the school environment safe. Cleaning classrooms, wiping down the tables, frequently washing hands, wearing masks, and practicing social distancing are all still extremely important precautions to take in order to prevent the spread of the virus.