In direct response to Ms. Bankler’s letter to the editor printed on January 19. Ms. Bankler thinks it is foolish (her word) to offer the COVID vaccine to teachers before offering the vaccine to anyone over the age of 65. The decision by the state of Oregon to keep children in school despite alarming statistics regarding the environmental status of COVID was part of a balancing act we are all finding ourselves in. No decision has zero drawbacks any longer. There is no best practice here. It’s part of how COVID has changed our lives and our communities.
What are we balancing? Just our economy, our housing, our health, our careers, our children’s health, our sanity, our children’s sanity and pretty much the entire future of what our world looks like post-COVID. Just like pre-COVID, teachers put themselves at risk every day. Prior to COVID, every teacher’s worst fear was a gunman. As a society we choose to do nothing about that problem. Now we have a new assailant that hides in plain sight. Will we choose to do something to protect our educators, and thus, our children now?
We still expect teachers to put themselves at risk, so we can go about our lives, do our jobs, put food on our tables and try to provide children with some semblance of a normal life. Add environmental services technician and infectious disease mitigation to their always growing list of job duties. Put it right under “protect our children from an intruder with an AK47.” As long as Ms. Bankler is first in line for a vaccination.
Please note that the vaccines have not been sufficiently studied to determine if they protect against viral shedding. This means it is possible to have a small viral load and not develop symptoms but still possible to pass it to someone. That’s why recommendations are to continue to social distance and wear masks, even for those who have been inoculated. Not having been studied and being a certain fact are two separate things.
Furthermore, until February 8th, only K-3 are in the schools. It’s comical to think anyone believes K-3 teachers “stand around.”