AUSTIN, TX — Texas Teachers have pushed for months to be prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccines and now that’s finally becoming a reality.
“It’s important to make sure the educators that are supposed to educate are protected and able to do so because otherwise you’re asking a completely impossible task,” said Killeen Educators Association President Rick Beaule.
“Now that vaccines are rolling it stands to reason that teachers and public-school educators have more in-person interactions than most people,” Temple ISD Superintendent Dr. Bobby Ott.
Today, Texas Department of State Health Services gave Teachers the green light, stating that all Texas vaccine providers need to include school staff, Head Start program staff and child care staff in their administration programs.
“Educators are considered a priority. In my mind, considering them a priority is a good strategy to mitigate the spread in the community,” said Ott.
The decision comes one day after President Joe Biden urged states to put educators on their vaccinations list.
It also comes one day after Governor Abbott’s executive order to lift mask mandates and fully reopen businesses next week.
That has raised some concern.
“When you have people that are willfully not doing the things in steps to protect themselves becomes more and more difficult that point of actually getting past the pandemic,” said Beaule.
Officials with the TEA announced school districts have full authority to impose whatever restrictions they choose and many like Temple ISD still plan to keep social distancing, mask mandates and other safety ordinances in place.
“Who wants a vocal spark in cases right before school starts? Then you’re talking about jeopardizing in person graduation or some of the activities that you have. We manage to keep things low so we can function normally and that’s how we plan to finish things out,” said Dr. Ott.
Temple ISD officials say they started off the year with 53% of their students and teachers and faculty on campus is and as of today they’re up to 80%, which they believe is due to all of their safety measures.
Texas teachers are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, health officials announced Wednesday.
Effective immediately, all Texas vaccine providers should include all teachers, Head Start program staff, and child care staff in their vaccine administration programs, according to a notice the Texas Department of State Health services sent to providers.
The notice comes after the Biden administration Tuesday urged all states to prioritize vaccinating teachers and school staff. Texas had not previously prioritized teachers.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2021/03/03/texas-teachers-child-care-coronavirus-vaccine/.
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