By Paul Burton

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – Teachers went to the front of the vaccination line on Saturday for the second of four days set aside to prioritize them.

With less than two days before the state’s deadline to have all elementary schools open to full-time, in-person learning, the Massachusetts Department of Education says COVID cases in schools across the state are on the rise.

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“Even with the vaccine and everything happening, I know of people close to me that are positive,” said Genesis Hernandez, a pre-school teacher in Cambridge Public Schools.

Hernandez is one of many teachers to get vaccinated. On Saturday, the Hynes Convention Center, one of the state’s mass vaccination sites for educators, was very busy.

“As soon as I found out, I knew It was something I wanted and needed to do. Not only for my family, but also for the children that I’m around with,” she said.

On Monday, all Massachusetts elementary schools return to in-person learning, with a few exceptions. The state has granted 58 school districts waivers to start at a later date.

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“During the pandemic, I’ve moments of breaking down and crying and missing them so much. Seeing them through zoom is not the same in person, so this is a long time coming. I am so grateful,” she said.

Even as more people become vaccinated, there is concern in the increase in COVID cases in schools across the state. Just last week, there were more than 1,000 cases total, including 801 students and 244 staff.

“They’re all going back to school soon. So It’s stressful,” said Scott Reid, who’s wife is a teacher in Haverhill. “She’s worried there is going to be larger outbreaks with the kids and potentially with some teachers that haven’t been vaccinated.”

Hernandez says as an educator, she’s learned a lot of valuable lessons this past year, both inside and outside the classroom.

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“I think is most important is making the children feel safe and loved. I think that’s why I am a teacher”

Paul Burton