HCISD educators and other district staff formed a line outside of Harlingen High School and Harlingen High School South, eagerly waiting to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on March 10, 2021.
The line moved quickly. Inside the Harlingen High School South gym, you could see organized stations. One area was for checking in, another one was to receive the vaccine, and another to wait 15 minutes before heading out.
“The shot did not hurt at all; I think the nurse did a wonderful job,” Coakley Middle School Assistant Principal Dr. Apolonia Renteria said. “It was very fast, efficient, and I feel good about it. We did not have to wait in long lines outside of the district. We just filled out a survey online, got the phone call, and came over here to get in line.”
A similar event took place at Harlingen High School. The vaccine clinics were organized by Cardinal and Hawk feeder campuses.
“We have teachers and other staff from across the district coming in to get their first shot of the vaccine,” Harlingen South Principal Fernando Reyes said. “Our goal is to administer the vaccine to as many employees as possible by the end of today. I am very excited about being able to provide that peace of mind for our employees. They are working really hard, and they are here every day making sure that the kids get an education. Our teachers have really been heroes throughout this whole process. So, I am very grateful for this opportunity.”
HCISD collaborated with the city of Harlingen to provide these vaccine clinics.
“We are fortunate that we will be able to vaccinate 700 of our staff members by the end of the day,” Superintendent Dr. Alicia Noyola said. “It’s been amazing how fast it moved from the moment that the state said, ‘Now district staff are a priority’ to where we are now.”
On March 7, the school coordinated its first vaccine clinic for HCISD teachers and staff.
“Care RX was able to vaccinate at least another 300 of our staff members,” Dr. Noyola said. “We are going to be in a position hopefully before the end of this week where 90 percent of our staff that has wanted to get vaccinated, will be. It really is amazing. We are just so grateful to all of our partners.”
Gratitude, excitement, and a mix of other emotions could be seen and felt at this event.
“I am in disbelief,” Cano teacher Yessica Collins said. “I wasn’t expecting it. I just completed a survey not expecting anything and then all of a sudden, I get an email.”
Some employees were not able to find any other places to obtain the vaccine prior to this clinic.
“It is great that they are doing it for all of the employees,” Child Nutrition staff member Lupe Rivera said. “I tried getting the shot in other places, but I couldn’t get any appointments until I heard about this. I signed up and it was really quick.”
Many complimented the organization and convenience of the event.
“I didn’t even feel the shot,” Coakley Middle School Lead Custodian Guillermo Vargas said. “And it was convenient for us that work with the school.”
Receiving the vaccines helped some employees feel more at peace.
“I am just excited because I finally feel safe,” STEM2 teacher Reyna Trevino said. “I am actually from out of state, so sometimes I have to travel home for family. I feel more at ease now.”
District employees now look to the future with a renewed sense of confidence and hope.
“It is something that my wife and I have been looking forward to for a while but it’s just actually becoming a reality,” Cano teacher Vicente Lopez said. “It’s good to see that the district is taking steps to ensure everyone has the vaccine and just knowing that things are going to get better after all this time.”