Harriton Teachers Speak on Their Vaccinations

Health is a top priority, not only for you and me, but for every person on the planet. We all want to be healthy, and safe, especially now. There is no better time to make sure that the people, who educate us, who help us in our times of need, who heal us when we are sick, are safe.

We want to make sure that our loved ones are safe from any harm or sickness, and that is why it was so crucial for the teachers at Harriton, the ones that support, encourage, and educate us, to be vaccinated.

I interviewed three teachers, Mr. Hasty, one of the life sciences teachers, Mr. Cooperstein, one of the music ensemble teachers, and Mr. Mapes, who is a language teacher. I wanted to know how they felt about the vaccine: including the procedure, its effects, and their overall experiences. All of them agreed to share their thoughts with me, allowing me to put this article together.

On Friday, March 12th, and Sunday, March 14th, all Harriton faculty and staff were able to receive the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Based on previous experiences, there are some side effects to the vaccine. As a precaution, the district made Monday, March 15th an asynchronous workday in case too many faculty members had to call in sick. Mr. Mapes and Mr. Cooperstein, who both received the J&J vaccine, had rather severe side effects. According to Mr. Mapes, it was “similar to the flu.” Many of their colleagues had similar side effects.

Mr. Hasty is not only a science teacher and cross country coach but also a firefighter. Since he is a first responder he was able to get the Moderna vaccine earlier in the year. When he got his second dose in February, he explained that it “hit me” which is very similar to what the other teachers said. Even though he was personally vaccinated before the asynchronous Monday, he felt that it was a good precaution, especially since there were not any substitute teachers available.

A second question comes to mind: did the teachers wish to get the vaccination earlier? All three teachers had very similar answers. They were all grateful to be vaccinated, but while they all would have liked to have been vaccinated earlier, they understand and respect why they received it when they did. 

Mr. Cooperstein remarked, “Yes, but I know that it wouldn’t have been possible because of where I fall in the categories.”

Mr. Mapes had a very similar answer and was grateful to receive the vaccine at all since some of his family is still not vaccinated. Mr. Hasty talked about how he carried a sense of guilt with him because he received the vaccine before his parents did, and he didn’t have any underlying conditions. However, it was essential for him to receive the vaccine because, as a firefighter, he gets close to people, some of whom could be vulnerable to the virus.  

I also asked the teachers if they are glad to have received the vaccine before the new schedule was implemented with more students in the classrooms and hallways. According to Mr. Mapes, “The J&J vaccine takes a couple of weeks to take effect. The students have been very good at keeping their masks up…which will help.” 

With this new schedule, it is even more important that we, as a student body, help to maintain the health and safety of each other and everyone at the school. 

The teachers can control where they stand compared to students, and with masks being mandatory, it is much safer. Mr. Hasty discussed how the number of individual viruses you get can determine how severe your condition will be. But with masks, social distancing, and vaccinated teachers, the chances of getting a severe condition is slim.

The perseverance, persistence, and dedication that the teachers at Harriton have is no small feat. No doubt that they have long days, especially amidst a pandemic, but they still teach us, and engage us in their classes, and help us when needed.

It is extremely important that they have been vaccinated for our safety and theirs. After everything that has happened, the teachers at Harriton, along with teachers all across the world who have changed their entire lifestyle to help us learn, deserve to be vaccinated and healthy.