TAMPA, Fla. — Julia Spalding teaches high school in Tampa, due to her medical conditions she is at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
What You Need To Know
- Some teachers are eager to get a COVID-19 vaccine
- Gov. DeSantis doesn't plan to prioritize teachers for their occupation
- Teachers refusing to work in person could eventually lead to teacher shortage
She said she's eager to get the vaccine.
Spalding was hoping teachers would be included in the next round of groups prioritized to get the shot.
"For me, it would be a game changer," said Spalding.
But Gov. Ron DeSantis said he doesn't plan to fast track teachers based solely on their occupation.
"If you look at the COVID mortality, 65 and up represents over 80 percent of the COVID mortality in our country and in Florida so that's where we've got to focus on the outset," he said.
However, teachers said they are working on the front lines. They are indoors, in small classrooms filled with dozens of students for hours at a time.
"Considering so many of us are in that situation, it's just not healthy," said Spalding. "We're at a higher risk of getting the disease and possibly dying."
Some teachers working remotely have said they won't return to their classrooms until they get vaccinated.
There is concern that if that doesn't happen soon, it could lead to a teacher shortage, especially as more students are expected to return to brick and mortar schools for the next semester.
The Florida Education Association (FEA) has written a letter to the governor asking for teachers to be given more consideration.
The letter states that schools can contribute to a community spread of the virus and that classroom shutdowns are disrupting the educational process.
The FEA is also spearheading a campaign online, encouraging others to contact the governor through email, as well.
"For a governor who says he wants to have schools open, and we agree we should have kids in our schools, but we should be taking every step possible to make sure we're protecting our students and the people who work in our schools," said Andrew Spar, President of the Florida Education Association.
Spalding, who is teaching classes in person, said she hopes she'll be able to get a vaccine soon.
"I just wish there was a better roll out for us all because I think many of us are desperate to get this vaccine."