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"The best decision" | Morgan County teachers are getting the COVID-19 vaccine

Morgan County is in Phase 1b, which allows educators and child care staff to get vaccinated. The state estimates other teachers will be eligible in early March.

MORGAN COUNTY, Tenn. — At Coalfield School in Morgan County, Beth Roberts misses her students.

"It has been hard not having everybody here," Roberts said. "It's hard on them. It's hard on us. We miss them."

Roberts teaches language arts to sixth, seventh and eighth-grade students. Some of them are learning remotely this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our kids are resilient and they are doing the best that they can do," said Kelli Harvey, a fourth-grade teacher at Petros-Joyner School. "Pandemic or no pandemic, we're still going to be there for our kids and do our jobs."

But now, teachers are able to take a big step towards more normalcy. Morgan County is in Phase 1b of the state's vaccination plan, which includes K-12 educators and childcare staff.

"We are kind of in a war with this germ and I felt like it was my duty as a citizen to like step up and do something and contribute," said Marte Scruggs, a third-grade teacher at Wartburg Central Elementary. "I worry a lot about bringing germs into this classroom and my kids taking them home ... so this kind of put me a little bit more at ease."

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Nurse Adele Mathis, who is also at Wartburg Central Elementary, said she works with different children every day. Some of them are diabetic and have autoimmune disorders.

"I have to take care of myself too, because if I'm not well, then who's going to be responsible for the students?" Mathis said. "We know what went into the vaccine, but we don't know what COVID-19 long-term does to us."

Wayne Frasier is principal at Wartburg Central Middle School. He said getting the vaccine just seemed like the right thing to do.

"I just wanted to do anything in my power to slow the spread," he said. "After seeing multiple people in the community suffer as a result of this virus, I thought it was the logical thing to do."

Lisa Sexton teaches second grade at Sunbright School. She said she called as soon as vaccines started arriving in the state.

"I was happy to do it," she said. "I'm one of the older teachers around ... I have an elderly father-in-law that I help care for. I felt that that was important."

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