By Mary Margaret Olohan –
Vice President Kamala Harris repeatedly avoided saying that teachers can safely go back to school without vaccines, though the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that vaccines are not required for teachers to return to school.
“The CDC has said that it is not a prerequisite for teachers to be vaccinated for them to go back to school,” the Today Show’s Savannah Guthrie told Harris. “But many teachers are wary of going back to school. And we’ve had some cities have to sue the teachers union, or sue their own school districts to try to get these schools to reopen.”
“Can you reassure teachers who are listening right now that it is safe for them to go back to school even if they are not vaccinated if these public health measures like distancing and masks are being implemented?” Guthrie asked the vice president.
Harris did not directly answer Guthrie’s question, emphasizing that the Biden administration has been “really clear” that “teachers should be a priority.”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 17, 2021
“I love teachers,” Harris said, adding that teachers “should be able to teach in a safe place and expand the minds and the opportunities of our children. Teachers should be a priority along with other front-line workers. And we’re going to make them a priority.”
Guthrie pressed Harris again on teachers who are not vaccinated returning to schools.
“But if they are not vaccinated,” Guthrie said. “Is it safe for them?”
“Well, I think that we have to decide if we can put in place safe measures,” Harris said. “This is why it’s so important we pass the American Rescue Plan.”
“I don’t want to beat it to death, but I know there are teachers listening, and the CDC has said they don’t have to be vaccinated to go back to school,” Guthrie pressed again, before Harris interrupted to repeat, “We think they should be a priority. We think they should be a priority.”
CDC head Rochelle Walensky reiterated this weekend that not all teachers need to be vaccinated before they return to school.
“I’m a strong advocate of teachers receiving their vaccinations, but we don’t believe it’s a prerequisite for reopening schools,” Walensky said on CNN Sunday.
“We have in the guidance clear language that specifies that teachers that are at higher risk…teachers and students that are higher risk, and their families, should have options for virtual activities, virtual learning, virtual teaching,” she added.
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Author: Mary Margaret Olohan
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