On Tuesday’s “CNN Newsroom,” American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten stated that CDC guidance on re-opening schools won’t be the roadmap for re-opening schools, but will be “a huge piece” of the roadmap, teachers should be a priority for vaccines, and we need to “align in-school learning with educators who wanted to get those shots.”
Host Kate Bolduan asked, “When the CDC comes out with this guidance for schools, could be as soon as tomorrow, what will you do with the guidance once it’s out? Is that going to be the roadmap for all of your members?”
Weingarten responded, “Well, I think it’s a huge piece of it, Kate. I think that — let me just say, we’ve been trying to get unequivocal guidance and the resources since last June, our union actually put out a plan last April. So, I think that the guidance from CDC, which this president, unlike the last one, will actually wrap himself around because of the science of it, is going to be a huge step forward. And then, just like with vaccine hesitancy, we have to meet fear with facts and then we have to get vaccinations into people’s arms, teacher’s arms, and other educator’s arms as quickly as possible to actually have another layer of protection.”
Bolduan then asked Weingarten if she is okay with vaccinating teachers “not being a factor in re-opening if other measures are in place?”
Weingarten answered, “Well, let me be clear about this. Being a — there is a difference between being a prerequisite and being a priority. So, for example, with hospitals, it wasn’t a prerequisite for medical personnel to have a vaccine. But because medical personnel are so essential and educators are so essential, we need them to be a priority and to align in-school learning with educators who wanted to get those shots. And I think that’s what the CDC director will say repeatedly. That’s what being in prioritization 1b means. So, I think that you — to answer your question –.”
Bolduan then cut in to point out that hospital workers continued to work even if they weren’t vaccinated.
Weingarten then stated, “There are tons of educators that are in school right now. And so, what we need is we — this is not a binary choice, Kate. This is, how do we make sure that in-school learning happens? Because we know how important it is, and how do we make sure that everybody is safe? What the vaccines do, it is a layer of protection so that essential workers, when you have huge community spread, are protected outside in their communities as well as doing their work.”
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett