TCTA urges state officials to designate teachers as frontline workers for COVID-19 vaccine
Gov. Greg Abbott announced this week
that the state could get 1.4 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by mid-December, if the FDA grants emergency approval to Pfizer and Moderna. While health care workers in hospitals top the list of who gets the voluntary vaccine first, TCTA sent a letter
to Gov. Abbott and members of his Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel this week urging them to designate teachers as front-line workers to ensure those who want the vaccine have access earlier. In the state's initial list, school nurses
, but not teachers, are in the second tier of people who get access to the vaccine.
Most Americans will have to wait until spring or early summer for vaccinations, according to federal officials. That is why it is essential to continue wearing masks in public, keeping social distance and washing hands frequently. Children and teens will have a longer wait for a COVID-19 vaccine, as pediatric safety tests are not as advanced as studies for adults.
Texas must do more to slow spread of virus
As Texas sets new records for COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the White House Coronavirus Task Force has called on state officials to step up their response to the pandemic. With three-quarters of Texas counties experiencing moderate or high levels of viral transmission, the task force said the state “must intensify” mitigation efforts, including significantly reducing occupancy limits for indoor spaces and increasing proactive coronavirus testing of people working in the community, including teachers.
CDC shortens coronavirus quarantine period
The CDC announced that some people may only need to quarantine for 7 or 10 days
following exposure to the virus. While a 14-day quarantine remains the safest option, the CDC says 10 days without a test is enough for people who do not develop symptoms. Quarantine could end after 7 days with a negative test result and no symptoms.
The shorter period could help schools struggling to keep classes going as more students and staff are required to quarantine. The state will update its COVID-19 dashboard for school districts
on Friday, adding data from the past two weeks. On Tuesday, the Texas Medical Association urged all school districts to offer rapid COVID-19 testing
to staff and to students with parental consent. Many districts have joined TEA's rapid COVID-19 testing program
, with several starting this week.
We have all the latest state and federal guidance in our COVID-19 FAQs on 2020-21 Education Issues
. While this information is not legal advice, we hope it helps answer questions you may have about COVID-19's impact on schools. Members who have specific concerns or questions should call the Legal Department at 888-879-8282 to speak with a staff attorney.