Prioritizing COVID-19 vaccination for school employees in Massachusetts
Dear Governor Baker, Secretary Sudders, Commissioner Riley, and Assistant Commissioner Cranston:
We are a group of families, educators, staff, physicians, and community members asking you to prioritize K-12 school educators and staff in the very first step of Phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccination.
School employees are essential and should be treated as such in the vaccine prioritization process. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has classified school staff as frontline essential workers. Per federal guidelines, school personnel are in Phase 1b, allowing them to be vaccinated concurrent with individuals aged 75 years and over. Adding K-12 school employees to the first step of Phase 2 in Massachusetts would bring our vaccination process in line with CDC guidelines.
Public schools are a bedrock of our society and are vital to the flourishing of our Commonwealth’s children. The toll of school closings on children’s mental health has been significant and has long-term ramifications for this generation. The learning loss and increasing educational gaps are furthering inequities. Schools also allow other essential services to function. Too many essential workers have had to cut back on work hours during the pandemic - the very situation in which they are needed most - because of the stressors of supervising their children’s remote schooling. Schools need to open now.
If we are calling on educators and staff to act as essential employees, we need to honor their service by prioritizing them in the vaccination rollout process. Indeed, other states, including Virginia, Maryland, and Illinois, have already begun vaccinating teachers. We ask for Massachusetts to do the same.
Please consider recognizing the service of our cherished K-12 school educators and staff by allowing them earlier access to the COVID-19 vaccine in the first step of Phase 2, in accordance with CDC guidelines.
PLEASE SIGN this Open Letter below to add your name to the list of signatories. Scroll to the bottom to SUBMIT.
*For reference, the current MA COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Timeline is depicted below.