COVID-19 vaccine plan for educators leaves parents optimistic about reopening schools

COVID-19 vaccine plan for educators leaves parents optimistic about reopening schools

BOSTON — The rallies continue to get students back into classrooms full time, but there’s a sense of relief among many parents after learning Wednesday educators will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine before the general public.

Dozens of parents rallied in Braintree Wednesday to get their kids back into classrooms full time.

“They’re losing so much ground,” said Caitlin Potolicchio. “My son’s in first grade, if he gets three hours of learning a day, I’m being generous. He keeps asking ‘when can I go back to school, when can I go back to school, I want to eat lunch in school, I want to play with my friends in school,’ it’s heartbreaking as a mom.”

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Right now Braintree is in a hybrid model with students going into school for half-days.

These parents are hoping for at least a couple full days in-person a week.

“My son is in first grade,” said Tina Gilman. “I had to make him fully remote because my husband and I both work outside of the house. We cannot do the four half days as working parents, so we spend over a thousand dollars a month for him to sit in front of his computer.”

As the fight continues to reopen schools, parents say there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel.

Governor Baker announced a rollout plan for the new COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday.

“I think it’s nice that the governor gives teachers recognition being part of the front line,” said Gilman, who’s also a teacher in Quincy. “Anything to bring the numbers down I think would help our case anyway of getting kids back into school.”

Teachers are included in Phase 2 of the vaccine distribution plan, which means they could start getting the shots in February - before the general public.

“I think that’s great. I know teachers are concerned and I don’t blame them,” said Potolicchio. “They’re in close contact and I know kids can be germy and they can take their masks off when they’re not supposed to.”

Parents here are hoping the sooner teachers get the vaccine, the sooner their children will be back in classrooms full time.

“I think if they can get education as a top priority – school is a top priority, education is essential no matter what grade you’re in,” said Potolicchio. “So if the teachers can feel more comfortable coming back then I am all for that and I’m happy to hear that.”

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