I’ve called on the government to vaccinate teachers and school support staff in February half-term as part of a national effort to reopen schools and get children back in the classroom safely.
Every day that our children are out of education risks widening the attainment gap for our most deprived and vulnerable children. We’ve already seen the impact of the first lockdown on increasing inequality and we cannot allow this to continue without seriously damaging children’s life chances.
The first phase of vaccination rollout has rightly focused on protecting older people, care home residents, carers, frontline health workers, and social care workers. Once vaccination of these groups has been completed by mid-February, school staff should then receive the vaccine alongside other key workers, the over-50s, over-60s, and people with underlying health conditions. In so doing, we can help to secure the safety of school staff, while also ensuring that children can go back into classrooms as transmission reduces.
Teachers and other school staff in Sheffield have gone above and beyond this year to support children during extremely difficult and changing circumstances. For the sake of their wellbeing, public health, and our children’s’ futures, it is only right that their vaccination is prioritised.