Teachers must be prioritized for next phase of vaccination
Teachers and education workers must be prioritized for next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination
Ottawa, January 14, 2021 — As governments across the country seek to accelerate the delivery of newly acquired vaccines, many rollout plans are still unclear about who will get vaccinated next. The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF/FCE) urges governments to include teachers and education workers on vaccine priority lists immediately.
Returning to and maintaining in-person schooling should be everyone’s priority. The negative impacts of school building closures are far reaching, affecting students’ learning, the social well-being of the country, and the economy. “Vaccinating teachers would add an additional layer of protection for students and staff, thus contributing to schools either staying safely open or safely reopening as we brace this uncertain winter and the coming spring amidst increased rates of infection,” says President Shelley L. Morse.
Teachers and education workers have been risking their health and safety every day to educate and support students through the COVID-19 pandemic. They are in close contact with children and other adults, indoors, for many hours at a time, every day, usually with poor ventilation and in some cases without mandatory masks. Although schools have tried to implement social distancing measures, maintaining sufficient physical distancing to prevent transmission of the COVID virus is nearly impossible given class sizes. “Teachers and education workers are frontline workers without frontline worker protection. We are failing educators, and the students in their care, if they are not prioritized as we move forward” says Morse. What is more, vaccines will not be available for children under age 16 – or even 18 in some cases – for the foreseeable future; this makes it even more important for educators to be given priority access to the vaccine.
The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is giving Canadians hope for the future. If teachers and education workers are not next in line, after vulnerable populations and health care workers, our kids and Canada’s economy will continue to suffer.
About the Canadian Teachers’ Federation
- Founded in 1920, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation is the national voice for the teaching profession.
- As the national alliance of provincial and territorial teacher organizations, the CTF/FCE represents over 300,000 elementary and secondary school teachers across Canada.
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Canadian Teachers’ Federation