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 11:19 AM
Updated: 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: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
Lauderdale11991317
Lowndes11050188
Lamar10521135
Pearl River9533237
Lafayette8550140
Hancock7732127
Washington7438158
Oktibbeha7146131
Monroe6777177
Warren6694176
Pontotoc6664102
Neshoba6637206
Panola6531131
Marshall6467134
Bolivar6317148
Union602894
Pike5820152
Alcorn5669101
Lincoln5436135
George496879
Scott472898
Tippah469281
Prentiss467281
Leflore4658144
Itawamba4636105
Tate4588111
Adams4587119
Copiah448592
Simpson4446116
Yazoo444187
Wayne439772
Covington428894
Sunflower4239105
Marion4226108
Coahoma4160105
Leake408288
Newton381779
Grenada3707108
Stone360364
Tishomingo359792
Attala331589
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay308076
Chickasaw300367
Clarke292494
Calhoun279446
Holmes267987
Smith264050
Yalobusha234047
Tallahatchie228051
Greene219348
Walthall218763
Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
Noxubee186740
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132737
Humphreys129538
Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 818652

Reported Deaths: 15378
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1147091924
Mobile724971336
Madison52231697
Shelby37575349
Baldwin37224549
Tuscaloosa35073612
Montgomery34092739
Lee23519246
Calhoun22221482
Morgan20910378
Etowah19816498
Marshall18338303
Houston17360412
St. Clair16034339
Cullman15406293
Limestone15328199
Elmore15186286
Lauderdale14270295
Talladega13827281
DeKalb12637261
Walker11180370
Blount10179176
Autauga9967148
Jackson9860183
Coffee9205191
Dale8884185
Colbert8840201
Tallapoosa7079198
Escambia6766132
Covington6706183
Chilton6633161
Russell635259
Franklin5959105
Chambers5607142
Marion4995126
Dallas4949200
Pike4791105
Clarke475484
Geneva4568127
Winston4507103
Lawrence4309117
Bibb424686
Barbour357576
Marengo337890
Monroe331463
Randolph329864
Butler325896
Pickens315682
Henry311966
Hale311188
Cherokee302360
Fayette292379
Washington251351
Cleburne247460
Crenshaw244875
Clay243068
Macon234163
Lamar223347
Conecuh185953
Coosa180040
Lowndes174764
Wilcox168739
Bullock151644
Perry138340
Sumter132938
Greene126644
Choctaw88227
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Clear cool and dry to begin your weekend, but both afternoons should be a little bit above what we expect for this time of year temperature wise. Rain chances begin to return late Sunday night, with at least two chances for storms over the next week, summer could be strong.
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