James Lennox, IT technical support specialist for the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind, gets the COVID-19 vaccine at the Davis County Legacy Center Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Farmington, Utah. Utah began vaccinating teachers and school staff across the state. They are aiming to have all teachers and school staff vaccinated by the end of February. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)(AP)
James Lennox, IT technical support specialist for the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind, gets the COVID-19 vaccine at the Davis County Legacy Center Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Farmington, Utah. Utah began vaccinating teachers and school staff across the state. They are aiming to have all teachers and school staff vaccinated by the end of February. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)(AP)

Calls to reopen classrooms in US grow as teachers get vaccinated

State leaders around the U.S. are increasingly pushing for schools to reopen this winter — pressuring them, even — as teachers begin to gain access to the vaccine against the raging pandemic.
AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 14, 2021 09:12 AM IST

State leaders around the U.S. are increasingly pushing for schools to reopen this winter — pressuring them, even — as teachers begin to gain access to the vaccine against the raging pandemic.

Ohio's governor offered to give vaccinations to teachers at the start of February, provided their school districts agree to resume at least some in-person instruction by March 1. In Arizona, where teachers began receiving shots this week, the governor warned schools that he expects students back in the classroom despite objections from top education officials and the highest COVID-19 diagnosis rate in the nation over the past week.

“We will not be funding empty seats or allowing schools to remain in a perpetual state of closure,” said Republican Gov. Doug Ducey. “Children still need to learn, even in a pandemic.”

Leaders of Arizona’s major hospitals disagreed with the governor's position, noting at a news conference Wednesday that the state is teetering on the brink of having to ration life-saving care.

“We understand that learning and bringing our children together is very important,” said Dr. Michael White of Valleywise Health. “But at this time with uncontrolled spread of the virus, we need to do things that we know will reduce the chance that the virus will spread and that is not gathering with people we don’t live with.”

The U.S. recorded an all-time, one-day high of 4,327 deaths on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The nation’s overall death toll from COVID-19 has topped 380,000, closing in fast on the number of Americans killed in World War II. Confirmed infections have reached about 23 million.

President-elect Joe Biden initially pledged to reopen a majority of the nation’s schools in his first 100 days but recently revised the goal to most of the country’s K-8 schools. He has said teachers should be eligible for vaccinations as soon as possible after those who are at highest risk.

Some states aren’t waiting, but the process can be scattershot.

Meika Mark, a ninth-grade English teacher in Orange County, New York, got vaccinated Tuesday at a hospital, using a link a friend texted her.

“It’s just word of mouth: ‘Here’s a link and hopefully you get a slot,'” said Mark, who contracted the virus in March and spent the rest of the school year teaching remotely. “I know of a woman who had her husband sit in front of a computer literally all day and just click the refresh button until an appointment came up.”

Mark, 34, is now doing some in-person teaching and is grateful for the added layer of protection.

High school band director Michael Crookston was among the first teachers to get a vaccination in Utah, which is among the earliest states to give priority to educators. Crookston has been in the classroom since the new school year began, despite having diabetes, which puts him at greater risk from the coronavirus.

“It’s been a thing I’ve been looking forward to, a little bit like Christmas,” said Crookston, who teaches at Davis High School, north of Salt Lake City, where he used a parent’s donation to buy 12 air filters for his band room. Students also wear face masks and use covers on their instruments.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has said he wants to vaccinate all teachers by the end of February.

Salt Lake City has been hit hard by the virus and was the only district in Utah to stay all-remote this school year. That has angered some GOP leaders, who have threatened to deny the city's teachers the $1,500 bonuses promised to the state’s educators.

An estimated 10.3 million Americans have received their first shot of the vaccine, or about 3% of the U.S. population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is an increase of about 1 million from the day before, indicating the vaccination drive is picking up speed after a slow start.

But the U.S. is still well short of the hundreds of millions who experts say will need to be inoculated to vanquish the outbreak.

A report released Wednesday by the CDC adds to the evidence suggesting that children aren’t the main drivers of community transmission. It found that increases in reported cases among adults were not preceded by increases among children and teens. Young adults, it appears, may contribute more to the spread than children do.

Chicago began a phased-in reopening of its schools this week, with about 6,000 pre-kindergarten and special education students expected to return to classrooms and other grades set to follow in the coming weeks. Illinois teachers are not eligible for vaccines yet, but Chicago officials are providing virus tests on school grounds for staff.

Chicago teachers who were punished for refusing to show up for classes over COVID-19 concerns demonstrated Wednesday outside the school board president’s home. Roughly 150 employees were initially docked pay and locked out of the school system, meaning they can’t teach remotely either. District officials said late Wednesday the number dropped to 100 as employees returned to work or had a valid excuse.

“I don’t believe it’s safe to reopen the schools. I don’t believe it’s safe for my family, I live with an elderly mom. I don’t believe it is safe for the city’s children or their families,” said Kirstin Roberts, a pre-kindergarten teacher.

New York State expanded vaccine eligibility to teachers this week. But in New York City, the nation's largest school district, with 1.1 million students, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that middle and high schools will remain closed indefinitely.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed a $2 billion plan to pay for testing, protective equipment and other safety enhancements to reopen the lowest grades as soon as Feb. 16.

But educators said it is too soon to know when California’s 600,000 teachers can expect to be vaccinated. Jeff Freitas, president of the California Federation of Teachers, said vaccinations have to come first, then schools can talk about reopening.

“We cannot put our own lives, the lives of our students, and our communities at risk during what is clearly an escalating crisis in our state,” the union leader said.

California’s rollout of vaccines has been slower than anticipated, with the first phase, involving health care workers and nursing home residents, still underway.

On Wednesday, Chiefs of Change, a bipartisan group of school administrators, called on state and federal officials to make teachers and other school employees immediately eligible for vaccinations and provide more resources to conduct testing and contact tracing in school districts.

“Those individuals are very uncomfortable and they’re very scared about coming back into school, no matter how safe we make it,” said Robert Runcie, superintendent of public schools in Broward County, Florida.


SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Representational image. (HT file)
Representational image. (HT file)

ITBP troops launch e-enabled school in Naxal violence affected Chhattisgarh

PTI, Raipur
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 06:43 PM IST
ITBP troops launch e-enabled school in Naxal violence affected Chhattisgarh
Close
Representational image. (HT file)
Representational image. (HT file)

Jharkhand’s residential schools to reopen for classes 10, 12 students tomorrow

By Sanjoy Dey, Hindustan Times, Ranchi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 06:01 PM IST
  • The residential schools are closed since March 17, 2020. Jharkhand Education Project Council (JEPC) issued a detailed SOP to reopen schools and hostels. Students to be allowed to attend classes and hostels with certain precautions
Close
Representational image. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Representational image. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Teens tutor peers online to fill need during pandemic

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 05:31 PM IST
  • Goyal, a 17-year-old high school junior from Plano, roped in three classmates to create TutorScope, a free tutoring service run by high schoolers for other kids, including younger ones.
Close
Representational image. (HT file)
Representational image. (HT file)

Delhi schools prepare to open the doors to classes 10, 12 students

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 05:00 PM IST
Delhi schools prepare to open the doors to classes 10, 12 students after pandemic-induced closure
Close
AYUSH counselling 2020.(PTI file)
AYUSH counselling 2020.(PTI file)

AYUSH counselling 2020: Registration for third round will begin on Jan 19

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Akhilesh Nagari, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 04:21 PM IST
  • Once the application process begins, candidates will be able to apply for the third round of AYUSH counselling 2020 online at aaccc.gov.in on or before January 23, 2021, until 5pm.
Close
Prime Minister Narendra Modi.(PTI file)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi.(PTI file)

Instead of asking to do a job, people now ask why not create a startup: PM Modi

ANI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 02:24 PM IST
PM Modi termed the current century is the century of the digital revolution and new-age innovation.
Close
Representational image. (HT file)
Representational image. (HT file)

Schools, colleges to remain shut in Thane till further orders

PTI, Thane
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2021 02:03 PM IST
Schools, colleges to remain shut in Thane till further orders
Close
Representational image. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Representational image. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Haryana Staff Selection Commission cancels written exams of gram sachiv

PTI, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 01:30 PM IST
Haryana Staff Selection Commission cancels written exams of gram sachiv
Close
UPPSC exam calendar 2021.(ANI file)
UPPSC exam calendar 2021.(ANI file)

UPPSC exam calendar 2021 released, check details here

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Akhilesh Nagari, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 01:00 PM IST
  • As per the notification, the commission will be conducting a total of 16 recruitment examination from January to December 2021.
Close
JEE Main 2021.(PTI file)
JEE Main 2021.(PTI file)

JEE Main 2021: Registration deadline extended till Jan 23, here's direct link

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Akhilesh Nagari, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 12:25 PM IST
  • Candidates who have not yet submitted their application forms can apply online at jeemain.nta.nic.in. The last date to pay the registration fee is January 24, 2021.
Close
Representational image. (Unsplash)
Representational image. (Unsplash)

Students tell story of Gurgaon through lives of 19 people

PTI, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2021 01:11 PM IST
Students tell story of Gurgaon through lives of 19 people
Close
Classes 6 to 8 to reopen at Chandigarh’s govt schools from February 1
Classes 6 to 8 to reopen at Chandigarh’s govt schools from February 1

Mizoram schools for class 10 and 12 students to restart on Jan 22

PTI, Aizawl
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2021 11:00 AM IST
Mizoram schools to restart on Jan 22, churches to reopen in Feb
Close
PSSSB Recruitment 2021.(Screengrab )
PSSSB Recruitment 2021.(Screengrab )

PSSSB Recruitment 2021: 547 vacancies for junior draftsman on offer

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Akhilesh Nagari, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 10:46 AM IST
  • Interested and eligible candidates will be able to apply for the positions online at sssb.punjab.gov.in on or before February 11, 2021.
Close
KPSC FDA admit card 2021. (Screengrab )
KPSC FDA admit card 2021. (Screengrab )

KPSC FDA admit card 2021 released, here's direct link to download

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Akhilesh Nagari, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 10:28 AM IST
  • Candidates who have registered for the recruitment examination can download their admit cards online at kpsc.kar.nic.in.
Close
JEE Advanced 2021 to be held on July 3(PTI)
JEE Advanced 2021 to be held on July 3(PTI)

ICSI CSEET results 2021 to be declared tomorrow, here's how to check

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Akhilesh Nagari, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 10:13 AM IST
  • Once the results are declared, candidates who have appeared in the CS Executive Entrance Test (CSEET) will be able to check their results online at icsi.edu.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP