Boston Public Schools

One Year After First Boston School Closed From COVID, Teachers Eligible for Vaccine

The Eliot School was the first to close down on March 11, 2020, because someone tested positive for COVID

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It’s a story that comes full circle.

One year ago, the Eliot School in Boston’s North End was the first school in the city to shut its doors due to COVID-19.

Today, teachers are back and able to get vaccinated.

“It’s been super joyful,” said first grade teacher Vita Franjul. “There are just some things that can never match having the kids learning together in class.”

Franjul, who is now back in the classroom, was in her first year of teaching when the pandemic hit this time last year.

“The kids were packing up, you hear all the hustle and bustle in the hallway of dismissal,” she said. “I told them, 'have a great afternoon, I’ll see you tomorrow morning,' and little did we know that I wouldn’t see them for the rest of the school year.”

The Eliot School was the first to close down on March 11, 2020, because someone tested positive for COVID. The closure was only supposed to last for a week. Days later, on March 17, 2020, as case numbers went up, Mayor Marty Walsh made the decision to close all schools.

“I was just getting into the rhythm of getting here in the morning and planning lesson plans and suddenly I had to completely change the way I had deliver materials and lessons,” said Franjul.

A statewide study led by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center showed there are no significant differences in COVID-19 case rates between K-12 school districts that implemented 3-feet versus 6-feet of social distancing.

Now one year from when Eliot first shut down, Franjul and all teachers can start to get vaccinated.

“I’m super excited to get the vaccine because it’s going to relieve a lot of anxiety,” she said.

Franjul hopes it will give teachers, students and parents peace of mind.

“I’m hoping things can go back to normal soon,” she said.

On Sunday, Boston Public Schools will hold its first vaccine clinic for educators, bus drivers and school employees. The clinic will be held at the Boston Centers for Youth and Families Gallivan Community Center in Mattapan from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. It will operate Monday through Thursday from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m.

The clinic is by appointment only.

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