The Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE)—the largest educator association in Texas—applauds the March 2 communiqué from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) directing all COVID-19 vaccine providers to prioritize educators for access.
The pertinent HHS language reads as follows:
“All COVID-19 vaccination providers are directed and required to make available and administer, as one of the currently eligible groups, COVID-19 vaccine to those who work in pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools, as well as Head Start and Early Head Start programs (including teachers, staff, and bus drivers) and those work as or for licensed child care providers, including center-based and family care providers.”
In response to the news, ATPE Executive Director Shannon Holmes shares the following statement:
“We are grateful the advocacy of ATPE and the public education community has finally been heard. ATPE has long advocated for educators to be prioritized for vaccine access by virtue of their face-to-face work with students. Most Texas educators have been working on campus since early fall.
As we have long said, providing educators with vaccine access will only make it easier for Texas public schools to fully resume normal operations, which includes the necessary step of getting students and educators safely back into the classroom together.
This news is especially welcome in light of Gov. Abbott's March 2 announcement lifting the statewide mask mandate, which briefly threw school districts into uncertainty about local mask policies. Fortunately, at ATPE's urging, the Texas Education Agency has updated its guidance to clarify that mask usage on school campuses continues to be required in most instances, with the caveat that school boards are now allowed to opt out of the agency's masking requirements.
In short, news of educator vaccine access is reassuring to Texas educators.
We encourage every Texas educator and school employee who wants the vaccine to get it. Educators want to go back to teaching our students without the toxic stress that this year has foisted upon them. This is an important step toward normalcy.”
Visit ATPE’s comprehensive Coronavirus FAQ and Resource webpage for Texas public educators.
Download a copy of ATPE’s priorities for the 87th Texas Legislature.
About the Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE)
Founded in 1980, ATPE is the leading educators’ association in Texas with approximately 100,000 members statewide. With its strong collaborative philosophy, ATPE speaks for classroom teachers, administrators, and future, retired, and para-educators and works to create better opportunities for Texas’ five million public school students. | atpe.org