ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A growing number of Central Florida schools have requested state officials to allow teachers to be the next priority group to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Elizabeth Albert, President of Volusia United Educators said the teachers union and Volusia Public Schools are working together to ensure teachers are next in line for the vaccine.
“We don’t want anyone who feels that they deserve access to this vaccine to not have it,” Albert said.
However, Albert said the potential risk of exposure to educators is far too great to not qualify.
“Our position is that since every day our working environment is a high risk, we really feel that we should be prioritized on this vaccination process,” Albert said.
On Tuesday, the Orange County school board announced another letter would be sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis reaffirming the request that all school employees who come in contact with students be vaccinated.
“We did ask the governor to consider employees who work with our children to be considered next in line for those vaccines,” Superintendent Barbara Jenkins said.
Lake County Schools also sent the state a letter with a similar request.
But as it stands, the governor’s focus is on getting more of the state’s elderly population vaccinated. Albert said the teachers must be able to teach safely.
“We need to really do something to ensure that the folks that are there tasked with giving that academic content providing instruction are as well equipped as they can be, and that of course would be a benefit of having the vaccine,” she said.
Seminole County schools have issued a statement and said they plan to vaccinate their school employees who are 65 and older.