California teachers, support staff to get priority for COVID-19 vaccine

10% of new doses set aside for school staff
Posted at 5:50 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 21:01:22-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Starting next month, thousands of COVID-19 vaccines will be set aside specifically for the state's teachers and school staff. This is part of Governor Gavin Newsom's plan to reopen schools safely.

California educators, school support staff, and childcare workers will soon get priority COVID-19 vaccinations.

"We are setting aside 10% of all first doses beginning with a baseline of 75,000 doses every single week. That will be made available and set aside for those educators and childcare workers that are supporting our efforts to get our kids back to in-person instruction. That's effective March 1," Governor Newsom said at his daily COVID-19 briefing.

Kisha Borden is the President of the San Diego Education Association, which represents around 6,500 educators and school employees. She believes this is a great first step.

"I think that's what our educators are waiting for and will be eager to get," Borden said.

The Governor's announcement comes a day after state legislators reintroduced SB86, a $6.6 billion plan to reopen schools once the number of local COVID infection cases goes into the Red Tier or seven per 100,000 residents. It targets a school reopening date in mid-April.

Superintendents of six of the state's largest urban school districts, including San Diego, praised the bill. So did the local teachers union.

"We agree with the Legislature's guidance that a lower rate of community spread in cases at the Red Tier is a key component to be able to safely reopen," Borden said.

But the Governor openly criticized the bill. He believes schools can safely reopen while still in the Purple Tier.

"Our stipulated guidelines is 25 per 100,000. The state is currently at 18.4," Governor Newsom said. "Unfortunately, what was put into print would slow down the process of reopening our schools, and that is something I cannot support."

The Governor hopes that prioritizing vaccinations for school staff will speed up the safe reopening process. Borden hopes they come to an agreement on how safe.

"We're all for getting the vaccine. Our educators want to get back into the classrooms with our students. We just want to do it safely," Borden said.

Lawmakers could put SB86 up for a vote as early as next Monday.