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Letter to the editor: School superintendents request staff move up on state's vaccination plan

 

Last updated 1/22/2021 at 11:39am

From left: Superintendents Gustavo Balderas, Alison Brynelson, Ian Saltzman

Editor’s note: Mukilteo School District Superintendent Alison Brynelson, Edmonds School District Superintendent Gustavo Balderas and Everett School District Superintendent Ian Saltzman sent the following letter to Gov. Jay Inslee.

Dear Governor Inslee:

In December, we heard your clear message to bring back students in elementary grades and those who require special services. The communities we serve also heard your message.

We have brought back a small number of students and are working hard to bring back more students for in-person learning. Moving all school staff up in the COVID-19 vaccination timeline would be a tremendous help in that effort.

As you can imagine, school staff juggle many student needs and some help with medically fragile students or students who require help with toileting or other bodily functions.

A typical elementary classroom teacher will, at a minimum, be in a classroom with more than 10 students for several hours each day and be exposed to their "contact bubbles" of potential exposure. Office and support staff also deal directly with many students and sometimes their family members each day.

Even with robust health and safety measures to minimize spread of the virus, many staff are understandably feeling nervous and some school staff will not return to school until they are vaccinated.

That will make staffing and reopening schools extremely difficult, if not impossible. Yet our students and community depend on us to offer in-person learning to those who most need it.

While we appreciate the vaccine timeline is a complex plan with many professions to consider, we urge you to move school staff up in the vaccination timeline so they can be vaccinated sooner and we can more quickly re-open schools, which will help family members resume work and stabilize the economy.

Thank you for your consideration.

Superintendent Alison Brynelson, Mukilteo School District

Superintendent Gustavo Balderas, Edmonds School District

Superintendent Ian Saltzman, Everett Public Schools

 

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