February 25, 2021

The development of a vaccine against COVID-19 has given all of us the sense that there is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. As we have all learned, however, the creation of a vaccine and the distribution of that vaccine are two very different things. The logistics of getting the vaccine to those who need it most in a timely and efficient manner, especially when initial supplies were very limited, boggle the mind. Despite the delays, I have been impressed overall at the level of success, given the enormity of the task. A few members of our faculty and staff were able to obtain shots on their own, but for the most part we have had to patiently await our turn. I am now able to report that our patience has been rewarded. James River employees have been able, over the course of this week, to get their first doses. Someone mentioned recently that they had never been so happy and eager to be stuck with a needle! The second dose of the vaccine for many of our faculty will be administered during the week of our first spring break, March 15-19.
There are clear benefits to having a vaccinated faculty. The peace of mind that occurs upon receiving the shot virtually eliminates the long-running dread of contracting and spreading COVID-19, and that is huge. I’ve noticed a more confident, optimistic outlook on the part of teachers who have received the shot, and this attitude transfers to the students. Another benefit is that a teacher would not be considered a close contact if we discovered a COVID-positive case within the school, thus enabling us to more easily handle future situations.
There are many people to thank for this wonderful chain of events. Our school nurse, Meagen Mace, has worked diligently (and daily) to stay on top of the ever-changing situation. Also, I need to give a shout out to Chris Button of VES for helping to facilitate the process for private school employees receiving vaccinations. Most of all, I need to thank the faculty and staff for their patience during these difficult times. It is very stressful to know that a vaccination exists but not know when one will receive it. This is just the boost we needed to help us confidently approach the last third of what has been a very challenging year, and I am, once again, grateful for, and to, this wonderful school community.