Some Kentucky teachers hopeful COVID-19 vaccine might expedite return to in-person learning

Some Kentucky teachers hopeful COVID-19 vaccine might expedite return to in-person learning

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky teachers and school staff have moved up on the list of those who will have access to the COVID-19 vaccine, right behind frontline workers and patients and staff at long-term care facilities.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced this week that educators can receive the second round of vaccines, so teachers and students can safely return to in-person learning.

“If we could get all those teachers and custodians, bus drivers, cafeteria workers that are in that building vaccinated as soon as possible, we can totally change the game,” Beshear said.

Jefferson County Teachers Association president Brent McKim told WAVE 3 News the Jefferson County school district already has started working on a plan to roll out the vaccines to teachers who want to receive them when the second round arrives in Kentucky.

Beshear said it could be as early as January or February.

McKim said it is important that teachers and students return to in-person learning soon, and the vaccine could ensure they do so safely.

“These are little human beings that need social interactions with one another, and adults in their learning, and that’s not happening ideally when you’re (teaching) virtually,” McKim said. “I think having a vaccine available to teachers could allow us to go back sooner.”

Longtime JCPS teacher Greta McQueen told WAVE 3 News she has decided to receive the vaccine when it becomes available.

“I do want to be back in the classroom, and I think this is something that is worth taking so that I have the opportunity to be back in the classroom,” McQueen said.

The Engelhard Elementary STEM lab teacher added she has health conditions that could become worse if she contracts COVID-19.

“So, I’m happy to do anything to avoid getting COVID that I can,” McQueen said.

McKim told WAVE 3 News some teachers have expressed uncertainty about getting the vaccine. He emphasized each teacher should have the choice whether to receive the vaccine when the time comes.

Beshear announced Kentucky could receive Pfizer’s first round of vaccines as early as Dec. 13, and Moderna’s shipment likely will arrive the following week.

However, those vaccines will be given exclusively to frontline workers and those in long-term care facilities.

Beshear told reporters Monday state leaders are working out the logistics regarding vaccine distribution to teachers and educators, and asked school district superintendents for flexibility.

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