Officials speak out on teacher vaccinations

Mar 4, 2021

Dartmouth’s teachers will soon be eligible for vaccination.

On Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced that teachers, early educators and school staff members will begin signing up for Covid vaccine appointments beginning March 11.

“It’s about time that they were in the queue,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bonny Gifford said. “We’ve been advocating for it — so we’re happy to hear it.” 

The news comes just two days after the School Committee voted for Pre-K and Kindergarten students to return to the classroom full time later this month. 

“Things come out of nowhere sometimes,” Gifford laughed.

CVS added teachers and staff to its eligibility list for vaccines in Massachusetts early Wednesday, a day after President Joe Biden urged states to have teachers get their first shots by the end of March. 

At the March 1 School Committee meeting, Public Health Director Chris Michaud expressed concern with adding teachers who would have to compete with “hundreds of thousands of people that are looking for access to the vaccine.” 

According to the governor, the state’s command center will designate specific days at mass vaccination sites like Circuit City for educators to get their inoculations.

Since the state’s vaccine supply remains limited, the governor at a March 3 press conference said “it will take about a month for everyone currently eligible” to book their shots. 

If supplies remain low, Michaud said that staff at Dartmouth’s public schools may “never see access to the vaccine until after the close of the school year.”

“It’s going to be like winning the lottery,” Michaud said.

Gifford said that while she hoped teachers could have gotten their shots at the soon to be closing Dartmouth High mass vaccination site, it’s “at least a foot in the right direction.”

“It will certainly decrease some angst as we let more students in soon,” she said.