To the Editor: Vermont is out of sync with teacher vaccinations! As a retired educator of forty years I find it imperative to write on behalf of teachers about the necessity for them to be vaccinated as soon as possible.
Last spring teachers were thrust into a totally new professional experience of remote teaching/learning. I doubt there are few, if any, teachers, parents or students who find this mode of learning successful when compared to in-class learning. However we are in a precarious situation that calls for extreme measures.
Up to now schools have abided by CDC guidelines of wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and imposing hybrid schedules, which are some of the tools to avoid exposure to the virus. Now Governor Scott has recommended that all students return to school, which would make it difficult to adhere to safe distancing at all times.
Initially teachers were considered to be front line workers and would be included in Phase 1b distribution of the vaccine in Vermont. Now they are not specified anywhere, but surprisingly ski patrol is included in Phase 1.
As I researched surrounding states I found the following as it pertains to vaccine phased distribution: New York: teachers and education workers are included in Phase 1B. Massachusetts: includes K-12 and Early Education staff in Phase 2 within a Phase 1,2,3 system. Connecticut: includes individuals and staff in congregate settings in Phase 1b. Maine: includes teachers with frontline essential workers in Phase 1b. New Hampshire: includes K-12 school and child care staff in Phase 2a.
The CDC Advisory Committee recommends that teachers and support staff be considered frontline essential workers. Although I understand the CDC makes recommendations and the states determine their own guidelines, it might be prudent to adhere to the advice of the CDC and also consider the plans of all of our surrounding states. Just this morning on NBC News, Dr. Vin Gupta M.D. M.P.A., an internationally known and well respected epidemiologist, made it clear that if we want to reopen schools we need to vaccinate teachers and support staff.