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Teachers Call for Expedited COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics for School Staff

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Nantucket High School

Now that Gov. Charlie Baker has announced teachers will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines starting next Thursday, teachers are asking to be vaccinated quickly, in their own communities.

They say they want to be ready for full-time, in-person learning to begin at elementary schools in April.

On Nantucket, teachers’ union co-president Page Martineau said vaccinating school staff is an important step toward getting students back to school.

“It's great news,” she said of Baker’s decision. “One of the issues that we've been having in Massachusetts is, the push to get ... all kids back in classrooms, up until this point, hasn't been accompanied with a similar push to get teachers vaccinated.”

Baker’s announcement followed pressure from the Massachusetts Teachers Association and a statement Tuesday by President Joe Biden.

Biden said he wants all K-12 teachers, school staff, and child care workers to have their first vaccine by the end of March.

Martineau said some teachers have felt like “enemy number one” because parents have accused them of standing in the way of children’s mental health by calling for teachers to be vaccinated before a full return to school.

“It's just more complicated than that,” she said.

She said the best vaccination plan for teachers would be one that doesn’t disrupt the school day.

She suggested a dedicated clinic on a Friday afternoon or Saturday so teachers won’t be absent in big numbers if they experience side effects.