ACCPTA sent the following letter to Governor DeSantis on January 29, 2021 to request that school staff be given priority for the COVID-19 vaccine;
PTA’s mission is to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate* for all children. The Alachua County Council of PTA’s (ACCPTA) is an all-volunteer organization that strives to carry out this mission in Alachua County through advocacy, leadership training, and support for our school-based PTA units.
As Florida’s largest volunteer child advocacy association, the welfare and education of children and their families is our top priority. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered the academic experience for Florida’s students, educators and other school personnel. While we recognize that in-person learning is best for most students, we acknowledge that the pandemic is keeping that from becoming a reality for many families. We appreciate you and Commissioner Corcoran providing families with flexible school choices this school year to help families remain safe.
We also appreciate your efforts to expedite vaccine distribution so that all Floridians can look forward to a day when COVID no longer impacts the way we live and work. We join superintendents, school board members, teachers and other educators across the state in requesting that all school personnel, (including educators, administrators, custodians, bus drivers and paraprofessionals), be given priority for vaccine distribution. This will ultimately help our children and our community for the following reasons:
- Teachers are essential in delivering the instruction that impacts the learning experience for children, both through in-person and digital environments. They cannot effectively do this if they have contracted COVID.
- Protecting teachers and school personnel will ensure continuity of learning for students and help mitigate further academic decline resulting from the pandemic.
- The CDC considers school personnel to be at increased risk for contracting the virus and has requested that states place teachers in high priority for the vaccine.
- Vaccine distribution for children will take place later than the adult population for many reasons, and therefore it’s important to prioritize the school staff who come into contact with children on a daily basis.
Thank you for considering our request. We look forward to the opportunity to work with you to improve the lives and education of all of Florida’s children.
*National PTA positions that support healthy schools:
Elements of Comprehensive Health Programs
Safe and Supportive Schools
Distance and Remote Learning for K-12 Students
Re-opening of Schools for 2020/2021