Thomas Hooker School Principal Lysette Torres talks about how the COVID-19 vaccine impacted her role as principal and her hopes for the future.
Question: When did you receive your vaccine?
Answer: Feb. 18 was my first, and my second shot was about a month later in March.
Q: Did you experience any side effects?
A: With the first one, it was a sore arm for a day. The second, I did end up with symptoms: chills, fever, body aches. It lasted about 24 hours.
Q: How did you set up your appointment?
A: We received an email through the (school) district to be able to log in and set up an appointment. Our district worked closely with the health department so it made it easy for us. The health department was wonderful, you were in and out, and it did not take a lot of time.
Q: What are you looking forward to as vaccines continue to roll out?
A: I am looking forward to having the students eventually come back, with people getting vaccinated coming back to school without people having to wear a mask and social distance. Every day the students wore their masks and had to be socially distanced, which is very different from what they’re used to. So with the more people that get vaccinated and our younger students too, really that's what we’re looking forward to. For kids to be kids again and play with their friends.
Q: How has the pandemic impacted your role as principal?
A: We had to do a whole new way of educating our students and working with our teachers. When we initially shut down back in March, it was a lot of virtual meetings and things we weren't used to doing like staff meetings and meeting with parents. It also helped us learn new ways, things we wouldn't have thought of if we weren’t in the pandemic. I think the virtual meetings helped with families who couldn't come to the school so that’s something we would make available even after the pandemic.
Q: What would you say to those who are considering getting vaccinated?
A: I would say to definitely get it. It is going to help all of us to go back to normal. It is going to help with large gatherings and not having to wear a mask everywhere, and being able to hug and shake hands again.
Q: Did you have any concerns prior to getting your vaccine?
I did have concerns when the vaccine first came out, but I talked to my primary health provider, to get more information, and once the appointments were available I had no hesitation in getting it done.
I think as a community, the more we can get vaccinated to be as normal as possible, especially for our kids in schools, whatever we need to do to make the experience for kids in school better.