‘Ready to retire,’ COVID-19 vaccine update gives Copper Hills teacher new hope

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SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah. (ABC4 News) – Teachers could be next in line to get access to the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Gov. Herbert said last week he was pushing for this.

 “I was so scared but now I’m so grateful,” said 4th grade Copper Hills Elementary teacher Melissa Howard.

Howard was thinking about retirement before the school year because of COVID-19, but the vaccine news has brought new perspective.

She and other educators said this is a giant step in the right direction. They just hope in a months time they’ll be in line, ready to get vaccinated.

“I’ll be one of the first people there,” said Erika Bradshaw. “I think that opportunity is wonderful.”

Bradshaw is a math teacher at Hillcrest High School. 

Although Howard and Bradshaw teach different grades at different schools, they have the same thing in mind.

“I am actually really really excited that teachers are going to have an opportunity to be at the front of the lines to get the vaccine,” said Bradshaw. 

“As soon as they tell me, I’m willing,” said Howard.

Both teachers are willing to get vaccinated for the greater good and not just for them but for their students.

“It’s always all about the kids,” said Bradshaw. “It’s fun being with them, it’s fun helping them learn, it’s fun watching them get the aha moment.”

“We want the kids to stay in school,” said Howard.

“I agree that is a priority but if I have to be worried I might just retire,” said Howard.

Howard has 36 years of teaching experience and had serious thoughts of erasing her career and retiring. She said the COVID-19 vaccine news gave her new hope; a new lease on the final years of her teaching career. 

“We are ecstatic,” said Howard. 

The vice principal at Hillcrest High School, Quinn Linde said he can empathize with that.

“I think we are really excited for that opportunity to be on the front line because we are frontline workers,” said Linde. “We are here every day with the kids in the trenches and so we are glad to be a part of that.”

Between Linde, Howard and Bradshaw they all said hopefully the district will step in once the vaccine is available to educators. 

“I hope that our teachers take advantage of it, but ultimately it’s their personal decision for their own health care,” said Bradshaw.

ABC 4 spoke with various school districts Monday and Tuesday to see if there are any solid plans in place yet for teachers to be able to get the vaccine. 

All of them said no information yet. 

We will of course keep you posted on this developing situation.

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