VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – The Volusia County School District is urging Gov. Ron DeSantis to prioritize school employees for COVID-19 vaccinations. School Board Member Ruben Colon has joined the list of school letters who wrote to the governor and the Florida chancellor of K-12 education.
“How many professions require that in the time of social distancing to be in a small room with 30 students? There are none. Only our teachers” said, Ruben Colon. “We should ensure that they are safe.”
Colon said it’s imperative for teachers and staff members to move up in line as he expects more COVID-19 cases in the classrooms come next semester and more students.
“Students who were not successful at the choice that they picked at the time return to school, so we are expecting hundreds of more students to return after the first semester which is thus going to complicate it a little bit more,” he said.
News 6 asked Gov. DeSantis on Tuesday what his thoughts were on prioritizing educational professionals.
“I think once we offer it to elderly and particularly if we get a Johnson & Johnson approval which is one dose, I think you’re going to be able to offer it broadly and I think some of the key areas whether it’s law enforcement, fire, whether it’s teachers, I think they will have access,” said Governor DeSantis.
News 6 also spoke with Volusia United Educators Union President Elizabeth Albert who said she agrees with the school board on prioritizing school employees for the vaccinations.
“We don’t ever want to create a situation where we pit one group against another group. Certainly, we recognize that our senior citizens are vulnerable,” she said.
Albert said there are several reasons why educators should be a priority because the school district is the largest in the county and has about 60,000 students who attend its schools. Albert believes if educational professionals get vaccinated before the general public, it could only help reduce community spread.
“We want to be working together so we can create a safe environment as we can for everyone. And because our reach is so vast, we’re in just about every home in this county. So, we need to be aware of that, we need to be intentional and strategic about how we prioritize this vaccine,” said Albert.