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Gov. Stitt moves teachers to higher vaccine priority group

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Posted at 7:02 PM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 18:47:33-05

TULSA, Okla. — Governor Kevin Stitt moved teachers up in the state’s priority list to get the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday.

Teachers were in phase three of the state’s vaccine plan, placing them among their students and other essential businesses. Now, they are being moved up a priority group.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said this is a "tremendous move" for teachers and students to help protect their health amid the pandemic.

Teachers are the heart and soul of our school community, and we cannot have school without them. Allowing teachers to be among the top priority to get the COVID-19 vaccine is a tremendous move toward protecting the health of our hardworking teachers. I am grateful to Gov. Stitt for his decision to elevate K-12 teachers in the vaccine distribution plan.
Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction

This previously had been a contentious issue for teachers since the creation of the original vaccine plan. Many teachers felt ignored by the initiative to get students back in the classroom.

Sommer Lyons, elementary school teacher for Tulsa Public Schools, fears for her peers that high risk population.

“Teachers as a population is as diverse as Tulsa," Lyons said. "We are all ages and all kinds of comorbidities."

The sentiment is shared by thousands of teachers across the state, including those in the Union Public School district.

“I think that if Governor Stitt wants students to be taught face-to-face then he needs to show teachers that they are a priority,” said Betty Collins, 8th grade teacher for Union Public Schools.

Stitt and state health officials made the announcement on Thursday, Dec. 17th.

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