By Jeff Gregorich,
Superintendent of Hayden-Winkelman Unified School District
Summer vacation is almost over for our students who have experienced two years of disruptive schooling due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 Delta strain, which is highly infectious is now spreading throughout our state, county, and communities. There is clear evidence that getting vaccinated appears to be the best firewall to prevent getting the virus or severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
I believe strongly in our personal rights of free speech and individual freedoms, which are all important parts of our great country and democracy. At this time, I am somewhat concerned that more Americans are not stepping up to the plate and getting vaccinated because of politics. They are not listening to our health experts and scientists.
In addition, I am worried and confused why we are not able to require masks to be worn at school and inside the classroom. It was one of the few tools we had to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our schools. I still will ENCOURAGE students and staff to wear masks when social distancing is not possible and while indoors. It is just common-sense! I believe masks, social distancing, and handwashing can help us complete a full school year in-person.
I am still optimistic that we can open schools in-person safely, while encouraging more students, staff, and community members to get vaccinated. I am very thankful to the Gila County Health Services and the San Carlos Apache HealthCare for hosting four vaccination clinics onsite over the summer.
I know working together with our community and health professionals, we can prevent the deadly spreading of COVID-19 again. Be part of the solution and roll up your sleeve and take one for the team and our children. Help to keep children in school by getting vaccinated today.