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There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an effect on Gwinnett County staff and students, so it came as a small relief when Gwinnett County teachers received an email about the vaccine’s updated availability. Gwinnett teachers became eligible for the vaccine on Monday, March 8. Lanier High School, being one of the smallest high schools in the county, has more than 100 teachers, and out of these teachers, there are many who have already taken at least the first dose of the vaccine.

Rebekah Castner, chorus teacher at LHS, mentioned the hindrance of her way of teaching because of the virus, 

“I feel as though my teaching style is close and personal with students, listening to them sing while rehearsing and giving immediate feedback,” she said. “I teach through large games and individual manipulatives like dry erase markers and large scale sheets of music paper, however with COVID, these strategies are no longer possible.” 

Castner said she was excited when she received the email and that her decision to get the vaccine was in order to keep herself and her family safe.

Weeks after the teacher eligibility announcement, on March 25, the vaccine eligibility age in Georgia lowered to 16 and older. This change prompted many Georgia teens, including many Lanier High School students, to schedule their appointments.

Alvaro Esteche, an LHS senior, also got his first dose of the vaccine and recalled his eagerness upon receiving the news. 

“I remember getting on the CDC website and looking for appointments the day before they went live,” he said. “I’m leaving high school this year and as such, I’ve had plans to go out with friends during the summer and this is just another step to ensure my safety.”

Esteche said this school year has been harder for him because of the restrictions on extracurricular activities. 

“Clubs and events that I would love to do sort of got stripped of some fun parts,” he said. “My best example would be marching band. This season was a really weird season because simply playing our instrument could cause issues.” 

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