YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Teachers for Youngstown City Schools had the chance to get their first of two vaccines on Wednesday for COVID-19. At the same time, those giving the vaccines were learning what it’s like to be a nurse in the middle of a pandemic.
In the gymnasium at Chaney High School Wednesday morning, teachers and staff got their first COVID-19 vaccination. The schools ordered 1,100 vaccines and 800 teachers and staff have already signed up.
“This has been a long road and this is a little bit of a light at the end of the tunnel finally,” said Denise Dick, a spokeswoman for Youngstown City Schools.
About 30 students with Choffin Career and Technical Center’s practical nursing program gave the vaccines.
“It’s the first time since the year started that they get to communicate with the citizens and do nursing duties, so they were excited,” said Melanie Connors, a practical nursing teacher at Choffin.
For them, it’s another day of training in the nursing program, but the gravity of what this vaccine means isn’t lost on them.
“I’m excited to say that we are part of history. This is the first time during a pandemic that we’ve ever seen it, that we’re going to be participating in it,” said Tammy Matthews, a student in Choffin’s practical nursing program.
“It’s gonna be our future job one day to help and that’s the goal, to help everybody and make the world a better place in the end,” said Jessica Cunningham, a student in Choffin’s practical nursing program.
The pressure doesn’t come without some nerves, though.
“I was very nervous. We kinda found out last minute so I was on YouTube looking at videos, make sure I’m doing it right, looking at my books and notes,” said Rickia Alli, a student in Choffin’s practical nursing program.
They’ll have a few more days of this experience. Vaccines will be given Thursday and Friday this week too, at both East and Chaney high schools.
“I’m very proud of them. I feel it’s a challenge with being in a nursing program and then getting an opportunity like this is really great for them to start learning about the reality of the pandemic,” Connors said.
The teachers are not required to get the vaccine and some did opt out. Once this first dose is given, those same teachers and staff will get their second dose in about a month.