Cassia County schools teachers, staff thankful to receive second COVID-19 vaccine

Minidoka Memorial Hospital was able to vaccinate all teachers and staff in both Cassia and Minidoka County.
Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 10:20 AM MST
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BURLEY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — The past year has been challenging for teachers and students all across the United States.

On Friday, teachers in Cassia County are feeling relieved, as they received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Honestly, I never was really concerned about getting myself,” said first-grade teacher Christine Gunnell. She is a first-grade teacher at John V. Evans Elementary in Burley. “My concern was getting something and then giving it to my students and then them giving it to their families. I felt this was a protection for them from me.”

Gunnell says in her 22 years of teaching, she has never seen such a big learning gap in her students.

“It’s really affected the students, I don’t think I’ve ever taught a class that has such a wide gap in different skills, so we have students in first grade who still are struggling to learn the alphabet and then we have students who I almost think flourished with their time at home and are reading novels,” said Gunnell.

Vaccines are not required for teachers in the Cassia County School District. Gunnell said she is glad the majority chose to take that extra step to protect themselves and their students.

“It was respectful to us in the fact that we are on the front lines too and we are dealing with a lot of students too,” Gunnell said.

Minidoka Memorial Hospital and the South Central Public Health District partnered to give the vaccine to both Cassia County and Minidoka County school districts, which is a total of 541 people.

“I think everyone who shows up today is so excited to finally get their vaccination series completed and take a step in the direction of normalcy,” said Heather Murphy, who works at the Minidoka Memorial Hospital.

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