HEBBRONVILLE, Texas — After Texas announced all residents 16+ could receive COVID-19 vaccinations starting this week, Jim Hogg County ISD prioritized getting students who wanted to receive the vaccine the opportunity to do so.
Dr. Suzanna Garza, the superintendent for JHCISD, said students who were interested were given time during the school day Wednesday to receive their vaccines. Of the 240 students eligible in the district, 62 received their first dose Wednesday.
“We have so many students who are participating in extracurricular activities, some are face-to-face, some are remote. So, keeping our students safe and healthy, keeping our staff healthy, it’s a huge priority in the district,” said Dr. Garza.
Among the students who received their vaccines Wednesday were junior Izarely Morales and sophomore Robert Cremar. Both students said they wanted to get vaccinated to protect those around them.
“I chose to get the vaccine today to protect my elderly grandparents, and my friends and family, and my teammates at baseball practice,” Cremar said.
“I was nervous at first, but I decided to take it because I do want to protect my family, and the people around me,” Morales said.
Both students are athletes; Morales plays tennis, Cremar plays baseball. Their decision to get vaccinated was also influenced by their sports and the ability to compete and not worry about contracting the virus.
Parents of JHCISD students also excited for their kids to be given the opportunity to receive the vaccine.
“When the opportunity came up to get the vaccine, I jumped on it. My daughter is my whole world, I’ll do anything to protect her,” said Zonia Morales, Izarely’s mother. “She can get back to normalcy, get back to school, get back to being with other people, and because she’s very active in everything she does, and I don’t want her to be the reason to get other people sick.”
“I think it’s a really good opportunity for our kids, I think the community has done a great job in bringing the vaccine to our community, so I felt it was here, he could do it. He is face-to-face in school, so I think it’s a good thing that he’s face-to-face and that he’ll be vaccinated,” said Nellie Cremar, Robert’s mother.
Ademar Garza is the father of a junior in JHCISD, and is also a nurse. He was administering vaccines on Wednesday, one of the ones he gave was to his son.
“Being that I’m a medical professional, I wanted to make sure he was one of the first ones to get vaccinated," Garza said. "I had a little fear, me being out in the community, being out at these clinics, I was scared of contracting the virus and bringing it home to him."
Dr. Suzanna Garza said around 96% of staff members at JHCISD are vaccinated, and getting students vaccinated was a priority to keep them safe and add an extra layer of protection for the community. She said she was excited to hear the news that the Pfizer vaccine was approved for younger recipientsWednesday, as that means more people are eligible to receive the vaccine.
Parents appreciate that the school district places such importance on their children getting vaccinated.
“I think it’s really great. I think the school district has done a phenomenal job in being active with the community, getting the vaccine to our kids, and hopefully more kids will do it,” Nellie Cremar said.
“It means a lot. It means that they care about our children, they care about their well-being, and of course they want everything to go back to normalcy, they want classrooms to be full again, they want to have interactions, instead of being in four walls all day long,” Zonia Morales said.
Garza said the district is currently looking at a plan to return to 100% in-person learning for the final six weeks of the school year. She said the school board will meet soon to discuss that possibility.