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San Francisco Supervisors to Vote on Urging Vaccination Priority for Teachers

The full Board of Supervisors will vote on Tuesday on whether to approve a resolution urging Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health to prioritize California public school workers for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The resolution, proposed by San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen, calls for teachers and school support staff to follow health care professionals and long-term care residents in receiving the vaccine. Ronen says getting teachers vaccinated is necessary in order to safely reopen public schools for students to physically attend.

“If we do not act now to resolve these dangerous disruptions to our public education system, the deep learning deficits caused by school closures could have —and will have — lasting impacts on our students,” Ronen said.

The resolution cites a number of reasons for making teachers a priority: the adverse impacts of teaching only through distance learning, especially among low-income and minority students; the lack of resources for schools to reopen safely; and a decline in public school enrollment as some families leave the system for private schools that have brought students back into classrooms.

Some critics argue that teachers should not be prioritized above essential workers who are unable do their jobs from home. Gabriela López, SFUSD School Board vice president, said last week that grocery store clerks, construction workers and “anyone in our transportation system who (has) never shut their doors since we sheltered in place,” should get priority over teachers, because “they’ve been putting their bodies on the line every single day to maintain our city.”

—Chloe Veltman and Jon Brooks

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