Charlottesville High School Teachers Receive First Doses of Covid-19 Vaccine


The Covid-19 Vaccine has finally been made available to countless CCS and Albemarle County school systems.

Kiran Matthews

Within the early weeks of January, spreading to the recent weeks here in February, the Covid-19 vaccine has finally swept itself into the arms of many Charlottesville City and Albemarle County teachers. In what will hopefully be a significant step to lower Covid-19 numbers, vaccines are recently widely available to numerous CCS instructors and essential workers here in the community. Some students may recall an optimistic note mentioned by teachers who had plans to receive the vaccine, as the possibility of immunity becomes a hopeful note in many teachers’ households.


How have these vaccinations been made available to teachers so soon? In a recent online interview with Charlottesville City Schools coordinator, career and technical equation director, Beth J. Baptist, she explains that educators are considered essential employees, making vaccine priorities available to them early. “Several members of the Charlottesville City Schools staff have been meeting regularly with regional and local representatives from the health department, emergency medical services, county schools, etc., to plan the best approach for getting teachers and other staff vaccinated.” The vaccines were directly made available with aid from the Blue Ridge Health Department, who made a three-day point of distribution period available for Charlottesville City and Albemarle County school employees. Now the actual vaccination process does not follow a single shot and out procedure, as teachers who received the first rounds of vaccine plan to return once again and receive their second shot at the end of the month. 


To get a teacher perspective into the vaccine process and follow-up situation, I interviewed both Robin Apicella and Richard Cale. They both received the vaccine just a week ago. Both explained the vaccine process felt extremely safe and thoroughly thought through, which was an initial concern from many weary teachers. “I didn’t feel the shot even a little bit, and the whole process seemed to fly by rather quickly,” said English teacher Robin Apicella. Mr. Cale, a Special Education teacher here at C.H.S, had the same response but followed that after receiving the shot, “I experienced every flu symptom, and for a while, the vaccine wiped me out. While these symptoms were definitely a little concerning, I checked in with some health care friends who explained that this was a completely normal response.” Now many teachers explained having various responses to the initial shot, the outcomes ended all positive, many happy with the process and execution of the vaccine in whole. 


Now for many students and teachers, another question may be in the front of our minds at this time: do teachers’ vaccinations push forward a new consideration for the return of an in-school learning environment? “Getting CCS employees vaccinated is a strong factor in getting the schools open. We understand that we must still continue to wear masks and practice social distancing and other mitigation strategies. But having staff vaccinated will hopefully ease the concern and spread of COVID.” Beth Baptist adds, while also mentioning the consideration take toward the unknowns of vaccine presence.  “There is much we still don’t know about the effects of the vaccinations and what may happen with the transmission, but we do know that it is less likely for the virus to spread when we have more people vaccinated”.


The possibility of returning to school most definitely remains on the top of student and family minds, as many hope to get back to a regular school routine or rhythm of life in the next few months. While Covid numbers seem to remain unmoved, and complications with eliminating the virus continue to pop up in various districts, teachers’ vaccinations continue to push forward the hope of returning to the C.H.S halls and classrooms we love.