Eanes ISD advocated for school personnel to receive early access to the COVID-19 vaccine in a Dec. 17 letter to Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath.
Specifically, Superintendent Tom Leonard requested school personnel, teachers, specialized instructional support personnel, aides, food service, custodial workers and principals be included in the priority group for the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Per a Dec. 17 press conference held by Abbott, vaccines are currently being administered to hospital workers across the state following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization of drug company Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Among the first to receive the vaccine will be Texans who are more vulnerable to the virus, such as elderly residents and those with medical conditions that may increase the risk of hospitalization or death, Abbott said.
EISD’s letter acknowledged the need to prioritize front-line responders and health care workers in the first administration of the vaccine; still, the district emphasized the importance of protecting the state’s educators.
“Even with limited numbers of in-person learners, our days are filled with positive cases, notification letters, quarantines and program pauses. It can be exhausting. It is exhausting,” the letter said.
Approximately 60% of EISD students are engaged in on-campus learning, and according to the district’s public COVID-19 dashboard, there are 13 active cases among students and four among staff as of Dec. 17.
Including school staff in the state’s priority group would help districts across the state prevent future school shutdowns as a result of COVID-19 outbreaks—an action the EISD letter said has a profound effect on families and the local economy.
“Our students need to come back to school safely, educators want to welcome them back and no one should have to risk their health to do so,” the EISD letter said.