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S.C. teachers want to know when they’ll be vaccinated

Published: Dec. 31, 2020 at 1:26 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Many people say teachers are our modern-day heroes.

Educators and staff members across South Carolina have been switching gears, finding new ways to educate children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think the education community has done a remarkable job in an extremely difficult environment right now,” said Sherri East, president of the South Carolina Education Association. “That goes down to the bus driver, cafeteria worker, teacher’s aide, secretaries, principals, superintendents, school boards, everybody has been pulled upon for this pandemic.”

But some staff members say more support is needed in 2021 to make sure the learning environment is even safer for all workers, particularly those concerned about their health during the recent COVID-19 spike.

East says there are ways state and school leaders can help those employees feel a bit more comfort in the weeks to come by providing more clarity about how workers can receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

South Carolina is currently in Phase 1-A of the vaccine distribution plan, which includes workers at high-risk for catching COVID-19. School workers are expected to be put into Phase 1-B.

Because this phase in next line, East says a plan of action should be in place for how teachers and staff workers will receive the dosages. According to the teachers she’s spoken with, they want more information soon about how they can receive the vaccine.

“We’ve seen [health leaders] talk about the plan and who’s going to get it and who’s first,” East said. “But where does the teacher go to make that happen? Are you suppose to go to the doctor’s office? Are you suppose to go to the health department? Where and when and how is that happening?”

WMBF News reached out to the South Carolina Department of Education and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control for more details about how school workers will receive the vaccine. But those specific details weren’t provided.

East says some teachers are excited about eventually getting the vaccine, while others she says are a bit more hesitant towards taking the dosage.

“It’s kind of all over the board,” East said. “I’ve heard from teachers that want to be first in line, [and] definitely want to get [the] vaccine. I’ve also heard from teachers too that say, ‘I’d almost like to catch COVID, recover and be done because I’m tired of waiting to catch it.’”

East says in addition to getting the vaccination distribution questions answered, school leaders must focus on other areas that would enable some staff members to feel even more comfortable on the school grounds.

She says school leaders need to follow the COVID-19 data in 2021 to ensure the learning environment for students and staff matches the most up-to-date current virus threat level.

East added that she spoke with teachers that had a ‘COVID Christmas break,’ meaning the virus was on their minds during the holiday due to feelings of anxiety about returning to classrooms after the break.

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