ATLANTA — Superintendents of nearly a dozen school districts are asking Gov. Brian Kemp to prioritize teachers when it comes to distributing the coronavirus vaccine.
The group of educators sent a letter to the governor urging him to move teachers and education staff into the Phase 1a vaccine category. Teachers currently fall in group 1B.
“Like you, we know the challenges and difficulties of leading during a pandemic, and we remain hopeful that the COVID-19 vaccination will soon begin to positively impact the lives and futures of many within our state. It is this hope that motivates us to come together as we have done so often throughout this pandemic. With the deepest respect but also the strongest sense of urgency, we ask you to move our teachers and education staff into the 1a category,” the letter said.
If the governor does end up moving teachers and education staff into the category, they would be able to get vaccinated against the virus immediately.
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“We need your help because our ability to remain open depends significantly on our staff feeling safe and staying healthy. The longer we delay in vaccinating our teachers and school staff, the more we risk having to close our doors once again. The educators in our districts have given tirelessly in time, effort, and dedication, especially during the pandemic; we ask you to recognize their value and importance to our communities and our state,” the letter said.
The letter was signed by the superintendents of Atlanta Public Schools, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett and Rockdale County school districts as well as Buford, Decatur and Marietta schools.
The move comes just one day after Cobb County school board members sent a letter to Kemp outlining what they want the state to do. They want the state to:
- Prioritize and optimize access to vaccinations for all school staff.
- Provide medical grade face masks
- Collect and review anonymous COVID-related feedback from public education staff.
Dozens of teachers have reached out to Channel 2′s Chris Jose following the deaths of two Cobb County teachers last week, saying they are scared to return back to face-to-face learning because they don’t want to end up in the hospital.
Kemp addressed educators’ concerns during a news conference Tuesday.
“There’s been a lot of conversation about educators and school staff and those with developmental disabilities being made eligible for the vaccine beyond those current seniors and those otherwise eligible. I can assure every one watching today that I hear these concerns, and I share your hope that we can vaccinate these deserving Georgians soon,” Kemp said. “The truth is, we do not yet have enough vaccine for those most at risk of serious complications or death from this virus. With nearly 530,000 Georgians vaccinated, we have not yet reached the halfway mark to the current 1a-Plus population which, as I said last week, numbers over 2 million people.”
Cox Media Group