Educators among next phase for vaccinations

DOVER — As the state plans to “sprint” through its Phase 1A vaccinations, educators are on deck for vaccinations in the next phase, which could begin as early as this month.

Phase 1B includes essential workers defined as first responders (firefighters and police) and education workers (teachers, support staff and child care staff), as well as employees in the food and agriculture, manufacturing, corrections, U.S. Postal Service, public transit and grocery store industries.

The Division of Public Health has said it hopes to move into Phase 1B by the end of January. The state this week announced plans to expedite vaccinations for those in Phase 1A through expanding drive-thru events at DMVs and allowing several pharmacies to begin administering the vaccine.

The Department of Education is working on this in close coordination with DPH, Alison May, a spokeswoman for DOE, said in an email. A plan is slated to be released later this month, and districts and charters will be given specific guidance from the state, she said.

On Tuesday, Caesar Rodney Superintendent Kevin Fitzgerald said that school leaders received information from DOE that more guidance would be coming in the next week, with vaccines potentially seeing distribution in late January or early February.

“So we’re excited to see that process begin,” he said. “It demonstrates a light at the end of the tunnel.”

At Capital, Mary Cooke, human resources director, said that “in all likelihood, the initial distribution of the vaccine will probably not be enough to cover all of our staff at one time.”

“My understanding is, it’s going to be much like the roll out of the flu shot,” she said at the board’s meeting last week. “So, potentially, we will be offering the space for our staff to come and get vaccinated but that all of the logistics — the vaccine, the shots — will actually be provided to us by other partners.”

School nurses were able to be vaccinated through the initial wave of vaccinations alongside frontline workers.

DPH said previously leaders in these Phase 1B employment sectors will be asked to identify which of their staff members should receive the vaccine before others based on factors such as frequent close contact with the public and inability to socially distance consistently at work. This is currently the case with health care workers to whom the vaccine has been distributed.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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