Pinellas County school officials plan to ask DeSantis to prioritize teachers for COVID-19 vaccines

Educators in the Bay Area are anxious to get the vaccine, but for now, only health care workers, those in long-term care facilities, and seniors are currently eligible in the state. However, many educators believe they should be included on that list, and they are now asking Governor Ron DeSantis to reconsider.  

On Tuesday, the Pinellas County School Board plans to approve and submit a letter to DeSantis asking him to reconsider adding educators to the list of essential workers who are eligible to receive the vaccine now. 

In the letter, the school board recognizes that adding teachers to the list would stretch the already short-supply of vaccines in the state. However, they have a solution. The district suggests in their letter making teachers or employees who have direct contact with students the priority so they can keep their schools open and safe. 

The Hillsborough County School Board also sent a similar letter back in December, stating that they believe teachers should be next to receive the vaccine due to the critical role educators have in the community. 

MORE: COVID-19 vaccine distribution information in Tampa Bay area counties

Current CDC recommendations suggest that those 75 and older, along with frontline workers, should be able to receive the vaccine first. The CDC’s list of frontline workers includes teachers along with other occupations that would be exempt under a stay-at-home order. 

Governor Desantis has continued to reiterate, however, that healthcare workers and seniors should be the priority right now as they are the most susceptible to COVID-19. 

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Many teachers have stated social distancing is already hard in the classroom, and with many kids returning for the spring semester, they are fearful it will only get worse. 

The Pinellas County Teachers Association has created a petition of their own to send up to Tallahassee. The FEA is also asking parents to sign their petition, urging the governor to change his mind and add teachers to the list of who can be vaccinated.