Teacher vaccinations stalled by state’s age mandates

Signage outside Everett High School says it all, back to school on September 15, 2020. (File photo by Jim Mahoney)

Near-miss on effort to get schools open

By JOSH RESNEK

For several months, Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani and her administrators have been trying to get the Everett Public Schools reopened for classroom instruction.

Tahiliani has been leading the way for a hybrid program-type return to classroom teaching. On January 19, the School Committee voted to allow all the city’s school teachers to be vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines.

Everything was apparently set to go.

At the time, Tahiliani was hoping Everett’s teachers could at least get the first dose of the vaccine.

Then came the governor’s new instructions – only those 75 or older and first responders were to get the vaccine. That was at the end of January.

Despite 22 states across the nation already vaccinating their school teachers, Everett’s remain unvaccinated.

Two weeks into February and the school teachers of Everett have not been vaccinated and don’t particularly feel like getting back into the classroom – no matter what President Joe Biden is trying to do – without vaccinations and without concrete assurances they will not get sick, or make students sick with the virus because of the possible spread of the virus inside the classrooms.

Everett, however, is not in a quandary about how to move forward.

Superintendent Tahiliani has created a broad-based hybrid allowing for all sorts of exceptions to edicts and rules, wherever and from whomever they may come.

Individuals, be it teachers, aids, parents, and students, have a wide latitude of choices they can make to satisfy their own personal needs for safety.

Teachers who don’t have a problem with classroom instruction can teach in the classroom.

Those who do have a problem with it can continue off-campus.

The same goes for parents and students.

Vaccinations are now increasing by the day across the nation.

At the present time about 30 million men, women and children have been inoculated, leaving about 300 million to go.

Inoculating Everett’s teachers would likely have led to the orderly reopening of the city’s public schools earlier rather than later.

Because the inoculations won’t happen for several weeks or even a month or longer, it remains anyone’s guess when schools partially reopen to in-classroom instruction this year – if at all.

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