The push to reopen schools is on, but administrators can’t force teachers to return to the classroom before they have the option to be vaccinated. Some states have put teachers on the priority list for vaccinations, but the majority of teachers still can’t get vaccinated. Now, perhaps things will speed up, thanks to the White House. At the town hall Tuesday night, President Joe Biden said, “I think that teachers and folks who work in the school … should be on the list of preferred to get a vaccination… I think we should be vaccinating teachers. We should move them up in the hierarchy.” Vice President Kamala Harris addressed this as well during an interview with NBC News:
“Teachers should be a priority,” said Harris, adding that teachers “are critical to our children’s development, they should be able to teach in a safe place and expand the minds and the opportunities of our children. So teachers should be a priority along with other front-line workers.” Harris said fewer than half the states are prioritizing teachers right now to receive the vaccine.
Today at the White House, White House press secretary Jen Psaki clarified the administration’s stance on this saying “At the same time, the president and vice president also believe that teachers should be prioritized. That’s up to states to determine.”
Jen Psaki tells @nancycordes the federal government will provide guidance to states on vaccinating teachers, but won't mandate it: "That's not how the process has worked" https://t.co/bv9iqsyfYh pic.twitter.com/t1tKLjjD8o
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 17, 2021
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease specialist agrees teachers should be prioritized, but he says that shouldn’t be a requirement to re-open schools.
Anthony Fauci said that vaccinating all teachers against Covid-19 before schools open is "rather impractical."
— POLITICO (@politico) February 17, 2021
Some Governors still aren’t budging. Florida’s Ron DeSantis, for example, was on of the first Governors to re-open schools last fall, but he refuses to prioritize vaccinations for teachers. Earlier this month DeSantis said, “Teachers, police, all that, of course a priority. But the question is, who needs to be the top priority? Seniors first is clearly the right policy. So we’re gonna continue to do that.”
A new PSA produced by the largest teachers union in Connecticut features Teachers of the Year speaking out about why educators and school staff need to be vaccinated now. Watch above.
Connecticut is expected to be one of the states to add teachers to the priority list in March. We just learned Los Angeles county will soon do the same.
On March 1, L.A. County will expand vaccine eligibility to teachers and child-care workers; grocery store employees and other food and agriculture workers; and law enforcement and first responders https://t.co/VHCeczZndI
— KTLA (@KTLA) February 17, 2021