Bay Area lawmakers are calling on the governor and state health officials to place public school teachers and staff toward the front of the line for vaccines so that schools can reopen sooner.
San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen introduced a resolution last week calling for the placement of school workers on a high-priority list in the first phase of the vaccination rollout, right after health care workers and seniors living in care homes.
Ronen says pandemic education hasn’t been equitable, and many parents and children are suffering.
“We are asking our governor to stand up for the public school system, to stand up for educators, to stand up for California children and families, and to get kids back in school as quickly as possible,” she said.
Supervisors from Oakland and Contra Costa County say they plan to introduce similar proposals this week.
On Wednesday night, Berkeley’s school board added its voice to the growing lobby, passing a resolution calling for teachers to be put in the "top tier" for the vaccine.
In Marin, Dr. Matt Willis, the county's public health officer, said teachers would be prioritized for vaccination.
“Schools are essential services,” Willis said during an online forum, the Marin Independent Journal reports. "Teachers are prioritized because they are providing essential functions.”
According to the newspaper, Willis wants to start vaccinating teachers by late January or early February, behind vulnerable populations like long-term care residents, front-line health care workers and first responders.
One dissenting local voice in the push to move teachers up on the vaccination list is Gabriela López, SFUSD School Board vice president.
López told KQED Thursday that grocery store clerks, construction workers and "anyone in our transportation system who have never shut their doors since we sheltered in place," should be vaccinated before teachers. "I personally feel, given that they've been putting their bodies on the line every single day to maintain our city, they should get priority before our teachers do."