As you may have heard, there were two significant announcement about vaccinations for educators in the last 24 hours. President Biden directed all states to priortize vaccinations for educators, with a goal of getting every educator at least one shot before the end of the month. This morning, Governor Baker held a press conference and shared that K-12 school staff will be eligible beginning March 11.
We are very pleased that the President has recognized the importance of prioritizing our educators for vaccinations. Since the vaccine has begun its rollout, BTU and other education unions across the country have made it clear that in-person educators are frontline workers and should be prioritized accordingly. While it is frustrating that the State is only giving this priority after a federal mandate, knowing that March 11 is on the horizon and that the federal government has made vaccines available through the pharmacy program is welcome news. As of today, K-12 school staff are able to make appointments for federal vaccination distribution at CVS sites. CVS will load new slots at 6 a.m. tomorrow.
We also had a meeting this afternoon with the Superintendent and her staff. BPS is planning on hosting a vaccination site for BPS employees at the BTU Hall. It will also be made available to those outside the BTU. However, this site cannot open until BPS gets vaccines from from the state. With the loosening of eligibility, it has created more demand than supply. The district is continuing to ask for vaccines for the BTU clinic, but we know it will not be ready by March 11. This is not something we or BPS can control, but we will continue to jointly advocate for vaccines to open the site as soon as possible.
The city and district are helping to prioritize school staff who are currently 65 and older, those who have 2 or more identified health risks, and ABA’s and other behavioral health licenced and certified staff who are now eligible. An email with a limited number of slots from the district will be going out this afternoon to help educators in the current phase get appointments.
The city has identified two sites, including the BTU to help with distribution. It is still unclear when those sites will be able to open.
There are appointments available for those in the current phase, including ABA’s. at many Boston sites. There will be an email later this afternoon from the school district to help those who are currently eligible find an appointment.
We will continue to work with the school district and city to help our educators, especially the ones already in the classroom, make their appointments as soon as possible. We will also continue to advocate for an efficient and effective vaccination rollout from the state for all frontline workers who are continuing to be left behind in the Governor’s plans, as well as adequate resources to ensure all other mitigation efforts are fully implemented and sustained.
Lastly, all BTU members should have received the new contract survey via email. Our current contract expires in August, and we we will begin to negotiate soon. We need to hear from as many members as possible to help us create our new initial proposal to create the Schools Our Students Deserve. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey sent to your personal email address around 5 p.m. yesterday to share your ideas for what should be in our next contract.
In solidarity, President Tang, BTU Officers and staff