New Ulm High School Facing Changes Due to Increased Vaccine Availability

April 14, 2021

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Vaccine distribution centers like the New Ulm Medical Center have been the epicenters in the fight against the spreading of new COVID-19 strains. Many students are now visiting the NUMC to recieve their vaccinations.

After over one year after the first COVID-19 was documented in Minnesota beginning the state-wide shutdowns, recent vaccine developments have provided a light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel, giving recipients of the vaccine greater opportunity to slowly return to a more normal lifestyle. Furthermore, with the Minnesota Department of Health recently opening the vaccine to Minnesota citizens of 16 years of age or older, many students at New Ulm Public High School have been eager to receive their shots. With a majority of the teachers of New Ulm High School being vaccinated along with student vaccination numbers increasing daily, gradual changes have been made to the school system as a result. One of the greatest benefits received from the increase in vaccination numbers is that it will decrease the likelihood of student-athletes having to quarantine after potential exposure, allowing for sports seasons to run while being uninterrupted less. When asked in an interview about his thoughts on the effects of the vaccine on New Ulm High School, tennis player Isaac Blumhoeffer said,

“I am looking forward to having to worry less about exposure to COVID when I am playing sports.”

Aside from improvements to school sports, increased action to the COVID-19 vaccines also can improve the quality of classroom activities. This is especially true for many science classes, as both Mr. Nelson and Mrs. Brock, teachers for the NUHS science department, have explained. This is because with more students vaccinated, science classes like physics, chemistry, and biology will once again be able to shift towards a more lab-oriented format than these classes have typically done in the past. Previously, due to COVID-19, a majority of the labs held in these science classes could no longer take place since they typically involved small group work or equipment shared amongst the class. On the topic of changes to classroom curriculum due to COVID-19, NUHS student Isaiah Rainwater said,

“It will be nice to see many of these classes go back to the way they were before. A lot of science and history classes now just aren’t as fun or interesting as they used to be”

Despite the relatively rapid pace of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, it will still be quite some time before things can fully return back to normal. For instance, since many vaccines have been provided to a greater population of people, there are many states that have fully reopened their businesses regardless of the CDC health recommendations. This, along with the public now feeling more comfortable in and around larger gatherings, has lead to a large spike of COVID-19 cases in multiple states across the country. Furthermore, there also still exists large amounts of public distrust and misinformation regarding the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines. Many people today still distrust vaccines since they believe that companies like Biotech were more concerned with making a profit rather than a safe vaccine. While there is little evidence to support claims like these, it is evident that it will be quite some time before the state of Minnesota will be fully vaccinated. In spite of this, the increased availability of COVID-19 vaccines has already resulted in changes in the New Ulm High School curriculum that will slowly allow for the school to return to a system that was once lost due to the pandemic.

With fewer case numbers than in the past, many recent visits to the hospital have been made by students finally receiving their first vaccines. As of April 2021, these students will be able to receive the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson; all three of the vaccines currently approved by the US Department of Health
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