Biden says teachers should move up in priority to receive Covid-19 vaccine

President Joe Biden said during a CNN town hall Tues...

Posted: Feb 17, 2021 11:38 AM

President Joe Biden said during a CNN town hall Tuesday that teachers should be moved higher on the list of those who are getting vaccinated against Covid-19.

"I think that we should be vaccinating teachers. We should move them up in the hierarchy," he said.

Later, responding to a question from a high school teacher on how schools can safely reopen and whether school staff should be vaccinated before returning to class, Biden said officials are not suggesting large classes to resume at this time, urging instead for "smaller classes, more ventilation, making sure that everybody has masks and is socially distanced."

"Making sure that everyone from the sanitation workers.. (and those that) do all the maintenance, that they are in fact able to be protected as well," Biden said. "Making sure you're in a situation where you don't have the congregation of a lot of people ... including the school bus."

"So it's about needing to be able to socially distance, smaller classes, more protection, and I think that teachers and the folks who work in the school ... should be on the list of preferred to get a vaccination."

Teacher vaccinations and school reopenings were among questions spanning a range of subjects that Biden fielded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in his first town hall since becoming President.

His comments come amid an ongoing national debate on what the safest way to reopen schools is -- and how to best protect educators and staff who are returning to in-person instruction.

So far, 28 states plus Washington, DC, have started allowing all or some teachers and school staff to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. Teachers are still not eligible to receive the vaccine as a specific group in 22 states -- although some educators might fall into the current age group a state is vaccinating.

And some experts have been at odds about how big of a priority vaccines are when it comes to returning to class.

In its school reopening guidelines released last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlined five key Covid-19 mitigation strategies including the universal and correct wearing of masks; physical distancing; washing hands; cleaning facilities and improving ventilation; and contact tracing, isolation and quarantine.

Vaccines and testing were not among the "key" strategies the agency lays out, but rather "additional layers" of Covid-19 prevention.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CNN earlier this week that while she's a "strong advocate of teachers receiving their vaccine," the agency doesn't believe it's a prerequisite for schools to be able to reopen.

But CDC guidance does specify that those who are at a higher risk should have virtual options, the director added.

"We have in the guidance clear language that specifies that teachers that are at higher risk -- teachers and students that are higher risk, and their families -- should have options for virtual activities, virtual learning, virtual teaching," Walensky said.

Another expert, emergency physician Dr. Leana Wen, called teacher vaccinations "essential."

"If we want students to be in school for in-person learning, the least that we can do is to protect the health and well-being of our teachers -- especially as in so many parts of the country, teachers are already being made to go back to school in poorly-ventilated, cramped areas, with many students who may not always be masking and practicing physical distancing," Wen told CNN on Sunday.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 500709

Reported Deaths: 9977
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34312538
DeSoto32080403
Hinds31924627
Jackson24482379
Rankin21983390
Lee15530235
Madison14574280
Jones13838242
Forrest13447251
Lauderdale11985316
Lowndes11030188
Lamar10508135
Pearl River9503237
Lafayette8547139
Hancock7728126
Washington7422157
Oktibbeha7142131
Monroe6769176
Warren6682176
Pontotoc6659102
Neshoba6635206
Panola6520131
Marshall6462134
Bolivar6313148
Union602494
Pike5817152
Alcorn5667101
Lincoln5433135
George496779
Scott472698
Tippah469081
Prentiss466881
Leflore4657144
Itawamba4633105
Adams4586119
Tate4584110
Copiah448592
Simpson4445116
Yazoo443987
Wayne439772
Covington428794
Sunflower4237105
Marion4225108
Coahoma4159104
Leake408288
Newton381679
Grenada3706108
Stone359764
Tishomingo359692
Attala331489
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay307976
Chickasaw299667
Clarke292494
Calhoun279346
Holmes267887
Smith263850
Yalobusha233747
Tallahatchie227151
Greene219048
Walthall218763
Lawrence212440
Perry205356
Amite205155
Webster202746
Noxubee186640
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171542
Carroll168838
Tunica159439
Benton148738
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132437
Humphreys129238
Franklin120028
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64020
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 817054

Reported Deaths: 15320
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1145501922
Mobile724601333
Madison52172694
Shelby37533348
Baldwin37192547
Tuscaloosa35044606
Montgomery34067734
Lee23195245
Calhoun22205476
Morgan20754376
Etowah19811497
Marshall18317302
Houston17345411
St. Clair15983339
Cullman15383292
Limestone15298198
Elmore15161284
Lauderdale14225294
Talladega13802276
DeKalb12622260
Walker11162369
Blount10162175
Autauga9954146
Jackson9844182
Coffee9195191
Dale8880185
Colbert8826201
Tallapoosa7071198
Escambia6764130
Covington6699183
Chilton6627161
Russell627959
Franklin5955105
Chambers5567142
Marion4982126
Dallas4936200
Clarke474583
Pike4722105
Geneva4566126
Winston4502103
Lawrence4296117
Bibb424086
Barbour356676
Marengo337789
Monroe331463
Randolph328763
Butler325696
Pickens315682
Henry311965
Hale311088
Cherokee301760
Fayette291879
Washington251351
Cleburne247360
Crenshaw244375
Clay241768
Macon232363
Lamar222047
Conecuh185853
Coosa179739
Lowndes174564
Wilcox167939
Bullock151644
Perry138340
Sumter132738
Greene126644
Choctaw88127
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Columbus
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More high pressure will move back into our area overnight and into our Friday. This high pressure will bring back into our area some more dry and seasonable weather for a few days.
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