Experts Are Recommending COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates for Teachers
Cases of the Delta COVID-19 variant are surging, and many of those affected are children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), between July 29 and August 12, there was a 5 percent increase in the combined number of COVID-19 cases in kids. In light of this news, and considering kids under 12 are not eligible for the vaccine, many experts are sharing their support for vaccination mandates for teachers.
Last week, during an interview with MSNBC, Dr. Anthony Fauci recommended the COVID-19 vaccine become mandatory for all teachers under certain circumstances, saying it may be one of the best ways to keep kids safe during the upcoming school year.
“I’m going to upset some people on this, but I think we should….We are in a major surge now as we’re going into the fall, into the school season. This is very serious business,” Fauci said when asked whether teachers should be mandated to be vaccinated. “We’re in such a serious situation now that, under certain circumstances, mandates should be done.”
Fauci’s views are in line with Randi Weingarten’s, president of the American Federation of Teachers, one of the biggest education unions in America. Last week, Weingarten voiced her support for vaccine mandates during an interview with CNBC.
“This is what really scares me: In the last three weeks, we’ve gone from the number of kids testing positive from 20,000 to 40,000 to 72,000,” she told the outlet, using data from July. According to the AAP, there were 215,251 additional cases in kids from July 29 through August 12. “Kids under 12 can’t get vaccines, this delta virus is very transmissible, so we need to be in school for our kids, with our kids, but we need to keep everyone safe. And that means vaccines are the single most important way to do it, and the second way to do it is masks.”
On August 12, the National Education Association (NEA), the country’s largest teachers’ union, also issued a statement on the matter, supporting the requirement that all educators either get vaccinated or get COVID-19 testing regularly. According to the organization, over 80 percent of teachers have already been vaccinated.
“No one wants to be back in the classroom with their students more than educators, and student safety is our number one priority,” Becky Pringle, president of the NEA, said in the statement. “As we enter a new school year amidst a rapidly spreading Delta variant and lagging public vaccination rates, it is clear that the vaccination of those eligible is one of the most effective ways to keep schools safe, and they must be coupled with other proven mitigation strategies.”
She continued, “In order to ensure that students and educators are able to enjoy safe, uninterrupted, in-person education, educators must have a voice in how vaccine requirements are implemented. Educators must also continue to play an active role in developing other mitigation systems—including testing, tracing, masking, distancing, hand washing, ventilation, cleaning, and disinfection."
While any vaccination mandates would come at a local or state level, many states have already begun reimplementing mask mandates for schools.
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