VERNON HILLS, Ill. (WLS) -- Hundreds of teachers and staff at Vernon Hills' Hawthorn School District 73 got their first dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
"We're going back with students on Monday and it gives me peace of mind," said art teacher Sandy Smith.
Smith and her fellow educators are welcoming back some students for in-person learning this upcoming week. The district's first in-person lessons since March.
Smith said she welcomes the social distancing precautions in place.
The school district said Walgreens offered the vaccine to every staffer who wanted one, from teachers to custodians. In all, 545 people signed up. That's 91% of its staff being vaccinated at Hawthorne Middle School South.
Superintendent Dr. Peter Hannigan said he thinks the district's diversity helped it stick out as a candidate for Saturday's partnership with Walgreens.
He said he hopes the inoculations paired with other measures, like rapid testing, will help keep the schools open.
"It's not about learning loss it's really about supporting the whole child, and making sure our students are in front of us, day in and day out," said Hannigan.
"To see them walk in the building in person and you know greet each other and greet us is going to be just amazing," said kindergarten teacher Katie Shannon.
Walgreens partners with Vernon Hills' Hawthorn School District 73, hundreds of teachers, staffers receive first COVID-19 vaccine dose