CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As more people get vaccinated, more students are heading back to the classroom for more face to face learning.
CMS middle and high schoolers are transitioning to Plan A this week and will be in person four days a week. Students in Caldwell County, Hickory and Kannapolis City Schools are doing the same. In Gaston, Lancaster and Union County schools, students will be back in the classroom five days a week.
This comes as 16- and 17-year-olds can get vaccinated. Now that supply is growing, it's getting a lot easier for them to get a Pfizer appointment.
The pandemic will be in the history books one day and the students living through it are heading back to the classroom for more in-person learning. Many of the oldest students thinking about getting vaccinated for an added layer of protection.
“A lot of the students have been getting vaccines so I’m probably going to get it too,” Sylvia Young, a local 15-year-old, said.
She turns 16 next month and making it extra sweet is her eligibility to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“It’s important to do your duty as a citizen and help out other people. Also, I think we want to travel over the summer and stay safe,” she said.
Top health officials have repeatedly said they want everyone 16 and older to be vaccinated, but Pfizer is the only option for 16- and 17-year-olds because in its trials, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson only tested the vaccine on people who were 18 and older.
“Yes we have masks and take all these protective measures but it’s kind of just like another net to catch you if you fall,” Rebkah Wynkoop, a sophomore at Gaston Day School said.
She gets her second Pfizer vaccine next week.
“I am really encouraging my friends to go get it. And anyone who tells me they're going to go get it I’m like, oh I’m going to try and help you make an appointment so you can get it because I want more people to be vaccinated,” she said.
Wynkoop’s mom heather took part in the Pfizer trials.
“Long story short, I didn't have the real one but without the placebo people, we can't make research happen anyhow,” Heather Wynkoop said.
It was important to her that the entire family get the shot. Her oldest daughter was heading to nursing school and her husband teaches at CMS.
“He would say that he feels safer. I would say he is enjoying the fact that he now is fully vaccinated ready to go, and he is thrilled to have his students back on campus as many days as he can have them,” she said.
Not only do they feel safer, but they can see brighter days ahead.
“Everyone who gets vaccinated is one step closer to being able to not have to wear masks all the time and that makes me very excited,” the 16-year-old said.
Most of the vaccine providers in the area now list what vaccine will be given, making it easier for teens to find the right appointment.
“It will be important for those individuals to make sure it is Pfizer because they wouldn’t be able to receive it otherwise,” Dr. Meg Sullivan with the Mecklenburg County Health Department said.
For now, only the oldest students will walk the halls with this protection but many say they feel safer and ready to get back into the old school day routine.
“I definitely think it will make it better the sooner everyone’s vaccinated,” Emily Bing, a Gaston Day School student said.
North Carolina law allows 16- and 17-year-olds to get the COVID-19 vaccine without parent permission.
Have a relative or friend in another state and want to know when they can get vaccinated? Visit NBC News' Plan Your Vaccine site to find out about each state's vaccine rollout plan.