On Saturday, as Kentucky reported 49 more COVID-19-related deaths, teachers throughout the Northern Kentucky area rolled up their sleeves to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Staff from St. Elizabeth Healthcare administered the Pfizer vaccines to teachers, who said they hope their opportunity to be vaccinated will not only help keep them safe, but will improve things for kids in Kentucky.
"I just think that being back in the classroom will benefit them not only academically but socially, emotionally, mentally," said Stephanie Schmidt, principal at Union Pointe Academy.
Union Pointe Academy is currently already operating on an in-person learning model, with specific safety procedures in place to keep staff and students safe.
In Dayton, Ky., schools are following a blended-learning model and teachers from that district were present to receive vaccinations as well.
"I'm just incredibly excited for this opportunity, because once we continue to go through this process, we'll be able to get our kids back in school and back in normal education for sure," said Bruce Harkins, director of bands at Dayton Independent Schools.
Kentucky has opened its vaccinations to Phase 1B, which has included school staff and those aged 70 and older along with first responders, and nursing home and hospital staff who have already been eligible.
"It's so great to look around and see the teachers that want to get back to school with their students," said Suzi Francis, supervisor of ambulatory pharmacy at St. Elizabeth Healthcare.
Although Kentucky's vaccination plan has included teachers and school staff, Ohio expects to be able to begin offering vaccines for school staff in early February at the earliest.