School teachers of all ages can now get COVID-19 vaccines at Florida's FEMA sites and certain pharmacies, but other educators complain they're being left out.
What You Need To Know
- United Faculty of Florida asks governor to add college, university staff to vaccine priority list
- Many institutions are pushing to resume in-person classes this fall
- SEE ALSO: Governor Announces 175K Johnson & Johnson Vaccines, New Parameters
- More Coronavirus headlines
College and university faculty wonder why they're not on the list to get the shot.
As those institutions push for more in-person classes again, faculty members say if the governor wants these institutions to fully reopen, they need as much protection as possible.
"College students are adults and adults are vectors,” said Steve Kirn of the United Faculty of Florida chapter at the University of Florida. "So to answer your question, do I think that faculty ought to be granted accommodations for this? Absolutely."
Higher education faculty teach about one million students in Florida, and many colleges and universities are starting to require them to do more teaching in person again.
Florida A&M University professor Roscoe Hightower Jr. says that's leading to concerns about safety.
"We want to work, we need to work and we enjoy what we do when we work,” he said. “The issue is if we're going to be on the front lines, and we are, then we should be prioritized as such in our view."
United Faculty of Florida, the union representing higher education employees, is asking Gov. Ron DeSantis to add them to the state's vaccination priority list.
UFF President Karen Morian warns if not, there could be a ripple effect.
"If one educator goes down and can't do their classes, any of their classes, how many students does that impact, how many students’ academic success does that impede or delay,” Morian said.
She said even just adding faculty over 50 would be a start.
"In order to keep doing what we do well, we're asking to be included, to access this tool so that we can return to doing what we need to do safely,” Morian said.
She said another thing that's ironic is that some of the vaccination clinics are even being held on college campuses, o the faculty has to see other people getting the shots while they can't get them.
In spite of UFF's plea, so far the governor hasn't announced any plans to expand vaccinations to teachers and staff at colleges and universities.