ICYMI: Education and Elected Leaders Praise Gov. Wolf, COVID-19 Vaccination Task Force Plan to Vaccinate Teachers, Other School Staff

March 05, 2021

This week, Governor Tom Wolf and the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force announced that beginning next week Pre-K to 12 public and non-public school staff will have an opportunity to be vaccinated with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The Wolf administration is collaborating with Intermediate Units (IUs) and other education partners to equitably vaccinate all school employees and contracted staff as quickly as possible.

Those working with elementary education students, students with disabilities, and English Learners will be the first eligible to register.

The plan has received support from education groups:

Pennsylvania School Boards Association CEO Nathan Mains

“We appreciate that the governor and task force have prioritized these essential roles in receiving the vaccine and see this as a step in the right direction toward getting students back into their classrooms safely. We thank all who were involved in working towards this outcome, recognizing the critical role that education and the school system serves in our state. Thank you also to the National Guard for their assistance with effective distribution.”

Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet

“The vaccinations of our teachers and school staff will add additional layer to the mitigation strategies we have in place to welcome students back for hybrid learning. We are grateful for the advocacy of Mayor Peduto, who has consistently shared his voice to support the safe reopening of schools.”

Norristown Area School District Superintendent Christopher Dormer

“We thank Governor Wolf and the bipartisan legislative task force for dedicating the newly available Johnson & Johnson vaccine supplies to get all educational staff vaccinated in an expedited manner. This vaccine program announcement is exactly what superintendents have been advocating for and requesting. Adding staff vaccinations to declining community spread and outstanding mitigation plans, we have full confidence that we can provide in-person learning opportunities for students while continuing to prioritize our commitment to health and safety. I am sure that our entire staff will have greater peace of mind as we begin our transition to in-person learning here in the Norristown Area School District.”

Scranton School District Superintendent Missy McTiernan

“On behalf of the Scranton School District Community, I would like to thank Governor Wolf for his leadership and his efforts regarding the Vaccine for Educators initiative. This is a major step towards getting our students back to in-person learning. Our district is grateful for Governor Wolf’s continued support of public education.”

Luzerne Intermediate Unit #18 Executive Director Dr. Anthony Grieco

“We are grateful and appreciative that Governor Wolf and the Legislative Task Force have prioritized teachers and all public and non-public school personnel to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  These vaccination efforts provide another mitigation strategy within our respective school Health and Safety plans to increase the level of in-person instruction across Pennsylvania.  This positive step forward will accelerate a greater numbers of staff and students safely back to their school communities for regular and sustained educational opportunities.”

Iroquois School District Superintendent Shane Murray (Erie County)

“The decision by Governor Wolf and the legislative task force to direct this new vaccine to school personnel will enable schools that have been teaching in person to do so more safely, and give the opportunity for other schools to return their students to in person learning. We are extremely grateful for this opportunity.”

Central Dauphin School District Superintendent Norman J. Miller, Ed.D.

“We are very pleased that teachers and school staff are being prioritized with respect to receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Over the past year, the Central Dauphin School District has implemented comprehensive health and safety protocols, and these vaccinations will provide an additional layer of protection to everyone in our buildings. Having students and teachers in their classrooms is critically important to our education system, and we are excited about this meaningful and significant development for our school community.”

Pennsylvania State Education Association President Rich Askey

“This is an incredibly important step toward returning Pennsylvania’s schools and communities to in-person instruction and ensuring that students, school staff members, their families, and their communities are better protected from COVID-19. This is good for everyone, and we thank Gov. Wolf and lawmakers for their leadership and their commitment to getting this done.”

Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers President Nina Esposito-Visgitis

“On behalf of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, I would like to thank Governor Wolf for prioritizing vaccinations for teachers and school staff in Pittsburgh and across the state. The additional layer of protection that full vaccination will provide will make a meaningful and measurable difference in the lives of our educators, school staff, students and school communities.”

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto

“Governor Wolf’s wise decision to immediately vaccinate teachers will speed up the return of students to school, provide students the in-person attention they need after a full year away, and give teachers confidence that they can return to classrooms safely. The City of Pittsburgh stands ready to help the Commonwealth with this effort in any way it can.”

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