What Other Countries Are Doing
UNESCO, the United Nations agency for education, called on governments on Monday to give teachers priority access to COVID-19 vaccines.
UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay stressed in a joint video message with the head of the Education International teachers’ organization, David Edwards, that teachers should be treated like “frontline” workers.
They noted that when education facilities closed at the start of the pandemic to help prevent the spread of the virus, “teachers and support personnel remained on the frontline.”
As classes shifted to online learning last spring, Azoulay and Edwards said teachers “reinvented” how to teach students, and when facilities reopened, teachers “courageously” returned to the classroom.
An alliance of labour organizations and groups representing American teachers, principals and support staff are also calling on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prioritize educators after the first wave of vaccinations.
In the U.K., Education Secretary Gavin Williamson suggested in early December that officials are “looking” at prioritizing teachers in vaccine rollout plans to minimize widespread disruption to schools.
Teachers in Russia are set to be among some of the first to receive Sputnik V, the Russian-designed COVID-19 vaccine, as Moscow officials included educators in its high-risk groups encouraged to get the shot.
A Particular Need For Boosters For Educators & No Reason To Wait
Diego R. Hijano, MD, MSc, an infectious disease specialist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, told Tech & Learning in November that older teachers and those with underlying conditions should get their boosters, as well as younger teachers with good health. As a teacher you’re exposed to a lot of kids who may or may not be vaccinated, depending on what grade you teach, and even if you teach high school, depending on where you work in the U.S., anywhere from 30 percent to 80 percent of your kids won’t be vaccinated.
Everyone should be getting a booster shot, Gigi Kwik Gronvall, PhD, an immunologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Tech & Learning in November.
Some people have theorized that delaying the vaccine might actually increase the efficacy of a third dose. Gronvall said that holding off does not make sense. I dont know why you would wait, she says. You are hoping to forestall serious infections now. If it turns out we need to be boosted every six months, so be it, but people should take advantage of the ability to get the booster now.
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What This Means For You
It is still unclear if all schools will eventually require the COVID-19 vaccine, especially when the FDA has not formally granted full approval of the use of the vaccine in children ages 15 and younger. The best course of action is to trust CDC guidance and have your child vaccinated against COVID-19 if they are ages 5 and older and therefore eligible for a shot under FDA emergency use authorization. For added safety, especially in schools were vaccination rates are low, encourage children to wear masks, stay properly distanced from others, and exercise good hygiene.
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Why The Push For Teacher Mandates
Schools, especially elementary schools, are likely to have the largest groups of unvaccinated people indoors, because no vaccine has yet been approved for those under 12 years of age.
Murphy has stated for months that he wants full-time, in-person learning for all students statewide. To do so, he is requiring all students to wear masks indoors a reversal of policy he made in June.
“We’re not going to sacrifice the health of our kids or staff,” he said of the vaccination and masking policies at a briefing Monday.
COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in New Jersey have been growing since early July due to the highly contagious delta variant, which now makes up more than 90% of the viral strains seen in the state.
Although it has been in the works for some time, Murphy’s vaccination announcement came hours after the Food and Drug Administration gave full agency approval for Pfizer’s vaccine on Monday.
Until the Pfizer approval, the three vaccines administered in the United States had received only emergency authorization from the FDA. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are still awaiting full approval.
The School Says It Supports ‘medical Freedom From Mandated Vaccines’
tech executive husbanddescribed itself as the “first happiness school,” school websiteA growing number of US colleges and universities are requiring students to get Covid-19 vaccinationsCDCin Florida, those include vaccines requiring students to get vaccinated against Covid-19made vaccines mandatory for students
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What’s The State Employee Mandate
It’s very similar to the school mandate.
All state employees including state police must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or undergo regular testing.
That includes those at all state agencies, authorities, and public colleges and universities whether they be full- or part-time, or contract employees,” Murphy said.
Interview About Vaccines With Dr Lee
Grace Lee, M.D., is chief medical officer for practice innovation and an infectious diseases physician at Stanford Childrens Health, and currently serves on the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and Californias COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.
A Voice of Science: Dr. Grace Lee
Read the full interview
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Schools That Have Banned Vaccine Mandates
Though the CDC recommends the vaccine for anyone eligible, schools are not bound by these guidelines. This means school districts have the freedom to set their own vaccine mandates.
However, some school districts are limited by individual state laws. The Cincinnati Public School Board, for instance, discussed plans to require student COVID vaccination, but the state passed a bill preventing schools from requiring shots that have not received full approval by the FDA. At least 17 states now ban vaccine mandates for students, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy.
Much of the pushback stems from the fact that the vaccine has not yet received full FDA approval in kids ages 15 and younger. Moreover, the COVID-19 vaccine is available for some students but not all in some schools, like ones that start in Pre-K or kindergarten. Anthony Fauci, MD, has said he believes the vaccine will be available for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers by spring 2022.
, a board-certified doctor in pediatric infectious diseases at Florida-based KIDZ Medical Services, says she believes that once the COVID-19 vaccine is available for children of all school ages, it will eventually be required by schools.
Arbitrator Oks Some Covid
NEW YORK â A resolution between the city and the union for public school teachers will grant new options for educators who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.
An independent arbitrator announced late Friday that teachers with specific documented medical or religious exemptions must be offered alternative work assignments. The arbitrator also said remote work must be available for vaccinated teachers with suppressed immune systems.
The arbitration calls for unpaid leave with health coverage, or a severance arrangement, for those who refuse to get the shot and do not qualify for an exemption. That unpaid leave would last through September of next year.
Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter commended the swiftness of the decision, saying, âWeâre pleased that the binding Arbitration was issued before the first day of school and we will swiftly implement the terms.â
The teacher vaccine mandate is scheduled to go into effect Sept. 27.
According to the city education department, as of Friday morning at least 74% of department employees have been vaccinated, although the United Federation of Teachers union estimates over 80% of teachers have already been vaccinated.
There will be more than 700 vaccination sites in public schools across the city when classes begin Monday.
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Promote Vaccine Confidence Among Students Parents And Guardians
Vaccine confidence is the trust that people have in recommended vaccines. Right now, families in your school community may be wading through a lot of informationand misinformationto make decisions about COVID-19 vaccinations.
- Be prepared to address questions and address misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine with your students and their families by developing or sharing materials from credible sources. The CDC has developed some useful tips for talking about COVID-19 vaccines.
- Consider preparing a frequently asked question document about COVID-19 vaccines. Include any planned efforts to vaccinate staff, students, and their families through SVCs.
- Include COVID-19 vaccine fact sheets with other information given to parents and caregivers and added to school and school district websites.
- Encourage teachers and staff to share their COVID-19 vaccination stories on social media and/or through school. Seeing adults they trust getting the COVID-19 vaccine can spur students to talk with their families and also put their minds at ease about vaccination.
- Invite students to wear their COVID-19 vaccination stickers to school.
- Recruit a set of teachers to host a school-wide art or writing contest about COVID-19.
- Display age-appropriate COVID-19 vaccine educational posters around the school building and in classrooms.
Is The Teachers’ Union On Board
The powerful New Jersey Education Association, a key political ally for Murphy as he seeks reelection this November, supports the policy.
Union leaders said Monday that the policy “is appropriate and responsible under current conditions.”
Murphy’s Republican opponent former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli said the policy is hypocritical since it gives teachers a choice between vaccination and testing while students and their parents have no say in a universal mask mandate. Ciattarelli has said he is against mask and vaccine mandates and told an anti-vaccination group last month that he would seek to expand exemptions for all vaccines if he becomes governor.
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Which Jobs Currently Require Workers To Have The Covid Vaccine
From November, people working in registered care homes will have to be double jabbed.
The only exception to this rule is if someone is medically exempt from taking the vaccine, such as if someone is allergic.
In a press release, Gov.uk states: Care home residents will be better protected from death and serious illness, following confirmation people working in care homes will need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
The new legislation means from October subject to Parliamentary approval and a subsequent 16-week grace period anyone working in a CQC-registered care home in England for residents requiring nursing or personal care must have two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine unless they have a medical exemption.
This applies to employees, volunteers, agency workers and part-time staff.
Any hairdressers, occupational therapists, assistants or inspectors coming to work at one of these homes must also be vaccinated.
At the time of writing, this is the only scenario in the UK where a worker would be legally mandated to be vaccinated.
‘it’s Peace Of Mind’: Teachers Receive Covid Vaccine Booster Shots In Boston
BOSTON – One by one teachers from surrounding communities came to the Boston Teachers Union facility in Dorchester to receive their Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot.
“I teach kids who are three years old who don’t have a say if they can have the vaccine. So as a teacher it’s my duty and my job to be vaccinated to protect the kids I teach every day,” teacher Coleen Mitchell said.
This weekend teachers from Boston Public Schools and beyond became eligible for the vaccine. Union leaders say it will help secure in-person learning for kids.
“I was so excited to see we were eligible,” teacher Lauren Ames said. “I am with kiddos unable to wear masks most of the day so it’s safer to get that booster shot.”
Teachers now join other frontline workers like healthcare employees, first responders even grocery store workers to get the booster shot.
Joe Gels teaches at Boston Latin School. “It’s peace of mind. It’s nice knowing I am little bit safer and keeping kids safer,” Gels said.
And they are encouraging other teachers to do the same. “I think the more teachers get vaccinated the safer our environment will be until those little kids can get their vaccine,” teacher Marina Ostrob said.
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Arm School Staff With Resources For Answering General Covid
It is important for school staff, including teachers and administrators, know what role they play in COVID-19 vaccine-related communication, education, and activities.
- Use teacher workshops, staff meetings, and newsletters to promote school staff involvement in COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
- Refer staff to CDC resources for teachers and staff with COVID-19 vaccination fact sheets and FAQs.
- Ask school staff to stress the importance of students getting their well child visits or check-ups with their regular healthcare provider which include their routinely recommended vaccines that may have been missed during the pandemic.
- If you choose to run a SLV clinic, ask school nurses to help communicate about and track consent forms. Teachers can take an active role by sending emails to their students parents and guardians with facts about the COVID-19 vaccine and the clinic date and time.
Over the summer, regularly communicate with your staff, students, and families with up-to-date science about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines.
For more information to protect your own health, as well as the health of students in your classroom, review CDC guidance for Teachers and Staff Resuming In-Person Learning.
Why Teachers Should Get Covid Booster Shots
ByErik Ofgangpublished 25 January 22
Educators should get their booster COVID shots, says Howard Forman, MD, MBA, from The Yale School of Public Health.
If there is a medical reason to not get a booster at this time, I would encourage them to wear an N95 mask to protect themselves and the people around them, he says. Even with a booster, wearing the N95 mask is helpful.
The CDC now advises everyone 12 and older who received two doses of Pfizer vaccine to get a booster after at least 5 months and everyone 18 and older who received two doses of the Moderna vaccine to get a booster after at least 5 months as well. Adults who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine are advised to get a Pfizer or Moderna booster after at least two months.
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Teachers Could Help Spread Public Trust In A Vaccine
Evidence certainly suggests many Americans are wary of getting vaccinated. Earlier this fall, half of respondents to a Pew survey said they would probably not or definitely not get vaccinated if an option were available at the time. Other surveys have indicated that parents are less likely to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19 than they are to vaccinate themselves.
Groups like the AAP know this is a problem. Fear and mistrust of routine immunizations has been on the rise in this nation largely due to a vocal, well-established, and growing anti-vaccination movement and that movement is already actively promoting disinformation about a COVID-19 vaccine, it has warned.
Its unclear what impact vaccinating teachers, administrators and other school staff might have on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among parents, but they are generally well-trusted professions. In their appeal to the CDCs advisory committee, national educational groups acknowledged this, arguing that if teachers are among the first to get vaccinated that could help increase public trust. The education community could be a trusted messenger to help ease anxieties and increase the trust factor, the groups said.
Experts are clear that in order for the new COVID-19 vaccines to bring the pandemic to an end, vaccination must be widespread.
Frequently Asked Questions On Governor Brown’s Vaccine Requirement
What is the Governors Vaccine Requirement?
Governor Kate Brown used her emergency executive authority to issue a requirement that all educators and volunteers in Oregon’s K-12 schools be fully vaccinated by October 18th.
You can read the full rule here.
Does the OEA support the Vaccine Requirement?
As we have said from the beginning of this pandemic, nobody wants to get students safely back into the classroom more than Oregons educators. While many Oregonians were hopeful that this summer marked the end of the pandemic, it has become increasingly clear that the worst of COVID-19 is not yet behind us. Fueled by the Delta variant, COVID cases in Oregon have skyrocketed to levels that we have not yet witnessed in our state, creating another wave in our ongoing public health crisis.
OEA believes that the vaccine requirement will help provide stability for our students this fall and will help improve safety in our schools and in our communities. The science on this issue is clear. Vaccines, coupled with other proven public health mitigation strategies, are the best way to ensure our schools stay open and are a safe place for students to learn and for educators to teach.
If I refuse to get vaccinated, could I lose my job?
The short answer is yes, unless you qualify for either a religious or medical exemption. The rule reads as follows:
- Proof of vaccination showing they are fully vaccinated or
- Documentation of a medical or religious exception.
Forms can be found here:
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Why Is It Easier For Some Teachers To Get A Vaccine
The fractured system for vaccinating school staff is an extension of the regular vaccine rollout that already has been heavily criticized.
“This is insanity,” said Barry Bloom, a doctor and professor at Harvard University with a specialty in infectious diseases and global health. There should be a central registry where anyone over 75 can sign up for a vaccination, he said in a call Thursday with reporters.
“The current distribution process makes very little sense in a time of a national emergency,” Bloom said.
A sputtering COVID vaccine rollout:16 states have used less than half of distributed doses
There’s also lots of demand and very little supply right now, said Alison Buttenheim, a professor of nursing and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania.
The federal government releases allocations of vaccine doses to 64 jurisdictions in the country, most of which are states, she said. Those jurisdictions are following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on whom to prioritize, she added, but localities can add their own variations.
That’s why teachers are in line behind health care workers, senior citizens and people in nursing homes. In some cases, teachers may qualify for the first priority group based on their age or medical conditions.
“It looks scattered and disorganized, but its really 64 different entities doing things slightly differently,” Buttenheim said.
“Thats a trade-off that every state is having to make.”