ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A state representative from Central Florida is putting pressure on the governor to make COVID-19 vaccines available to teachers.
State Rep. Carlos Smith sent a letter to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Monday asking that he revise the state’s list of priority groups to include “K-12 essential school district employees who are in direct contact with students.”
In early January, Florida was vaccinating only three priority groups: Health care workers, long-term care facility staff and residents and people 65 or older. The health care group includes EMTs and paramedics as well as Department of Health staff.
We’ve just sent a letter urging @GovRonDeSantis to make #COVID19 vaccines IMMEDIATELY available to K-12 essential FL teachers and school district personnel 65+ currently in direct contact with students. In Orange, that's only 875 employees on the front lines in our schools! 1/3 pic.twitter.com/OEZNIc8XD2— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) January 12, 2021
Smith’s letter went on to call for the immediate vaccination of school district employees 65 and older “who are currently in direct contact with students.”
The lawmaker pointed to Orange County Public Schools as an example, citing that the district has 875 district employees who are 65 or older with direct contact with students. Smith represents the 49th congressional district, which covers a large portion of Orange County, including the University of Central Florida.
Several school leaders in Central Florida have sent similar letters to the governor, urging him to give educators and school staff priority when it comes to vaccinations.