Members of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) are calling on the state's COVID-19 Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel to include public school teachers and staff in Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccinations.
The letter was written by SBOE Chair Dr. Keven Ellis and signed by 13 members of the board.
Dr. Ellis began the letter by thanking the board for their ongoing vaccination efforts, including "prioritizing the most vulnerable Texans and those at greatest risk of infection who are serving in frontline professions vital to our state's successful operation and recovery."
The chair then went on to discuss the challenges school districts have faced due to the pandemic. Dr. Ellis says these challenges have been "exacerbated by quarantines necessitated by COVID-19 exposures and a shortage of available full-time teachers and substitutes."
The members of the SBOE believe the panel should "consider offering immunization to all teachers and school staff in order to safeguard our academic recovery while preventing further, uncontrolled outbreaks." In order to do that, the group is calling on the panel to add public school teachers and staff to Phase 1B.
Texas Phase 1B COVID-19 Vaccine Priorities currently include:
- People 65 years of age and older
- People 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, such as but not limited to:
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
- Solid organ transplantation
- Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
The undersigned members of the SBOE offered their assistance in getting said public school teachers and staff vaccinated.