Teens receive vaccinations


photo by Leila Espejo

Sophomore Leila Espejo receiving her first shot.

Harry Davidson, Assistant Copy Editor

Upper School students have begun receiving their COVID-19 vaccines over the past few months, with many more students planning on getting them in the near future. Vaccinations will create a safer environment for the students and staff of CESJDS and will minimize the risk factor of in-person learning.

As of May 10, 55% of 100 surveyed high school students have received at least their first shot. Each week, as the number of vaccinated students rises, the school atmosphere gets increasingly safer for everyone.

“I think as JDS students, if we’re going in person, we need to do our best to ensure that it’s safe for in-person learning,” sophomore Benjamin Weiss said. “By getting vaccinated, if eligible, that is an example of how students can make the school a safer place.”

In order to protect students and faculty and make in-person learning safe, JDS decided that every student in an eligible age group will be required to have the vaccine next year. This decision ensures safety for everyone in the building next year.

Head Nurse Heather Greenblum, who helps oversee many decisions regarding school policies on COVID-19, believes that a vaccine requirement for next year will allow for more freedom within a safe environment.

“If we can get all students 12 and older fully vaccinated in time for school in the fall, that will significantly impact our ability to safely have all of our students and staff in the building together,” Greenblum said.

Requiring vaccination ensures that the building will be a safe setting for all the students, and assures parents that it is safer sending their kids to school. Dr. Rebecca Gross, parent of sophomore Jonah Gross, is on the school medical committee which made the decision to make vaccines mandatory and believes that it is a crucial step in returning to normalcy.

“[A vaccine requirement] allows the school to be more safe and allows for more in-person activity, both academically and socially. It keeps our community safe,” Gross said. “It will give parents the confidence and comfort and make it feel safe to send their kids back to school.”

While the school will still take precautions, students and teachers who felt the stress of the pandemic can feel safer taking risks that they may not have been comfortable taking this year.

“I think that having a mandatory vaccine requirement next year would make myself feel much safer when I go to school,” Weiss said. “As a whole, I think it would improve the safety of JDS, and I wouldn’t have to constantly be thinking about being safe and socially distant.”

Getting the vaccine and finding a place that offers it is a relatively simple process considering Washington, D.C. and Maryland are both giving them out to everyone 12 and up. Also, vaccines are available at a wide variety of places such as grocery stores, pharmacies and mass-vaccination centers. As the only vaccine currently approved for people below the age of 18 is Pfizer, the majority of sites will make it clear online if they do not offer it.

“[Getting the vaccine] was honestly very easy… there was a super long line, but it went by so fast,” junior Mira Beinart said. “I was nervous and excited to get the vaccine because I’ve waited so long for things to be normal, and I feel like this is such a huge step in returning to normalcy.”

Additionally, the school partnered with Safeway to set up a vaccination clinic for students ages 12 to 15 to get the shot, creating an efficient way to vaccinate all the students eligible.

“The school organizing a vaccination clinic at JDS makes the process of getting the vaccine much easier,” sophomore Coby Malkus said. “It’s been really hard to get a vaccine and this is a great way for students to get vaccinated.”

Not only does the vaccine protect individuals from COVID-19, it helps fulfill the obligation that one has to their community and relieves the stress that the pandemic has brought. Students are excited to move forward with their lives and go back to some sense of normalcy, and getting vaccinated is the first step in doing that.

“As a member of a community you’re not just protecting yourself by getting vaccinated you’re protecting your family and your school and everyone that you come into contact with,” Weiss said. “It’s also a weight off my shoulders knowing that I’ve made it through the worst of COVID, and obviously nothing’s guaranteed, but it’s very unlikely that I would get sick, and it’s kind of like a sigh of relief.”