K-12 staff in North Idaho receive first dose of COVID-19 vaccine

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho–A monumental step towards getting kids off those laptops and back into the classroom.

The people in North Idaho teaching and cleaning up after students got their first dose of protection from this virus.

“This really is an exciting day,” Katherine Hoyer of the Panhandle Health District said.

It’s a long-awaited moment that came much sooner for K-12 staff around the area. Many teachers like Beth Whiting were surprised to get the vaccine this quick.

“Hopefully that means that my students can get back to the classroom, so we don’t have to do this crazy teaching online, in-person, back-and-forth,” Whiting said.

She teaches high school and college students in North Idaho.

“It’s so challenging for students, because they’ll come to school some days and then they’ll not be there others,” Whiting said. “I have one student who quarantined five times, so she’s out of the classroom more than half of the semester which makes it incredibly difficult.”

Panhandle Health vaccinated about 500 school staff today at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds.

Some of them didn’t even feel that shot going into their arm.

“Quick, easy,” Whiting said. “I barely even noticed she was doing it,” Custodian Mikal Johnson said.

The Panhandle Health District expects to do more vaccinations each day next week.

“Those of us getting it at the school are really super excited to have it done,” Johnson said.

An appointment is needed to show up here, and once you arrive, you’ll get screened to make sure you’re not sick.

After receiving the vaccine, you’ll be monitored for 15 minutes to make sure there’s no reaction to the shot. No one had that issue Friday.

PHD said if you’re a K-12 staff member and haven’t received an invitation to schedule an appointment, then you should ask your employer about it.

Today, staff received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine and scheduled their next appointment to receive the last dose three weeks from now.

As each of those shots goes into arms, each person carries a little more hope.

“Optimistic that we’ll be able to move forward,” Whiting said.

READ: Nurses at Spokane Public Schools receive COVID-19 vaccine