The Missouri State Teachers Association sent the following letter to the Department of Health and Senior Services requesting teachers move to Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccination schedule.
Gov. Mike Parson announced the next stage of the state plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, revealing the priority order for Phase 1B. This phase includes those over 65, and essential employees including school personnel. The majority of education professionals are included in Phase 1B, but willbe eligible for the vaccine under Tier 3 of this new phase, following distribution to those over 65 and individuals with chronic health conditions. A timeline has not been established for distribution for Tier 3 individuals. Some MSTA members may be eligible to receive the vaccine under Tier 2, if they are over 65 or have an underlying chronic health condition. Individuals in Phase 1B - Tier 2 should contact their local pharmacy or health care provider or visit MOStopsCovid.com to learn when vaccines may be available and how to receive them.
MSTA believes that as essential personnel, public education professionals must be made a priority for vaccine distribution. It is vital to student success and the safety of Missouri communities to include all education staff in either Tier 1 or Tier 2 of Phase 1B.
January 14, 2021
Dr. Randall Williams
Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Dear Director Williams,
The Missouri State Teachers Association advocates for and empowers public educators so they can teach. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Missouri educators have answered the call to service, from delivering education remotely, providing meals to students, to meeting students’ needs in new and innovative ways.
Missouri educators employed as school nurses and those working with medically fragile students have recently been included in the Phase1A category for vaccine distribution. As essential workers, all public education professionals should either be moved into the Phase1A category or ensured that they will receive priority status in the administration of the Phase1B vaccine distribution should they decide to get vaccinated.
Missouri schools have seen unprecedented disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Interacting with hundreds of students every day presents an unparalleled level of exposure for public educators. Providing these frontline professionals priority access to the vaccine would slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and allow for an expedited return to in-person learning across the state, in alignment with The Department of Health & Senior Services’ guiding principles for education. Diligently working toward lowering the spread of COVID-19 in Missouri schools will benefit students by lowering the possibility of community spread of the virus and ensuring that school personnel are available to maximize learning.
Education professionals across Missouri have been recognized as heroes in their communities during this pandemic and this action by the state Department of Health & Senior Services would be an appropriate response to recognize the work school staff have put into ensuring student success.
Cc: Governor Michael L. Parson
Dr. Margie Vandeven, Commissioner, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education