Vaccines for all teachers.
It’s a position advocated by the superintendents of Miami-Dade and Broward public schools and Thursday, the Miami-Dade County Commission added its collective voice to this issue.
The County Commission unanimously passed a resolution urging Gov. Ron DeSantis to include teachers and police officers on the vaccination list.
The motion has no force of law behind it, so it could be seen as symbolic.
“So I beg to differ,” said Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins, who brought the item to the Commission. “I think the practical effect is the urging, Miami-Dade County is the largest county in the state of Florida, we have to use our voice collectively in order to get things done.”
Schools and COVID
The County Commission is formally asking the governor to recognize those who the state had labeled “essential workers.”
“Essential workers were declared by our governor a year ago, those essential workers included our teachers, law enforcement and other frontline workers, when vaccines come out, it only makes sense if those essential workers are deemed essential now,” said Cohen Higgins.
“If we want to maintain schools open, if we want to keep kids in school, then we ought to protect, via the vaccination of teachers and support personnel, as a first priority,” said Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho at a late afternoon news conference.
The school district approves of the county’s resolution, and so does the teachers union.
“We’re hopeful and we hope that this resolution that commissioner Cohen Higgins has put forth this afternoon will be heard and he will act accordingly and help us get the vaccines that are so very much needed,” said Karla Hernandez-Mats, president of the United Teachers of Dade.
The Miami-Dade school district, meanwhile, has partnered with Jackson Health to provide vaccinations for all of its employees who are over age 65.
“In essence, we have dedicated lanes on dedicated days specifically and exclusively for 65 and older employees of our public school system,” Carvalho said.
So instead of trying to navigate the frustrating websites to make hard-to-obtain appointments, and then waiting in long lines, school district employees over age 65 will have a much easier time getting vaccinated.
Broward County Public Schools announced a similar program Thursday. Thanks to a partnership with the Broward County Health Department, employees over 65 will be able to fast-track the vaccination process.
The next step is to persuade the state to get all school workers on the vaccination list.