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Teacher vaccinations at center of reopening debate

Teacher vaccinations at center of back-to-school debate
Santa Barbara Junior High
Tracy Lehr / News Channel 3-12


Governor Gavin Newsom appears to agree with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention directive from Dr. Rochelle Walensky that says teachers don't have to be vaccinated to reopen schools.

But some teachers and the Santa Barbara Unified School Board president say not so fast.

Kate Ford said, "We greatly appreciate the governor's efforts to increase access to vaccinations, but let's go one step further, and lets prioritize teacher vaccinations, that would just be one more step in empowering us to do what is right, to open out schools. Our students, our public school students deserve the same in person school opportunity that students across the county in private schools are already receiving, so let's follow the CDC guidelines and open our schools"

Gov. Newsom said, "So many private schools are open and I believe we can safely reopen public schools to in-person instruction with the appropriate level of safety and support."

He supports money to help schools make it safe.

He said there were 87 COVID19 cases linked to schools in January, down from recent months.

But he did not say teachers, who are considered essential workers, would be vaccinated on a certain date and time.

Some teachers unions and associations are fighting for that to happen.

The public schools that have in person learning have small cohorts with a majority of children still learning online.

A preschool teacher who works with kids outdoors said they need the social interaction.

"It is so important for these kids in these really primed years to not only have this education, but also to have this opportunity to interact with other kids, and I really think these kids are taking a step back, " said Anna Reed.

Educators said they are concerned about what they call Learning Loss while in-person learning is delayed.

Many teacher associations want their workers to have the option of being vaccinated before they step into a classroom full of children.

Article Topic Follows: Education

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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