LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Local teachers are joining a statewide effort to recognize educators as essential workers for early access to COVID-19 vaccines. Right now, only healthcare workers, senior citizens, and those in long-term care facilities are eligible to get vaccinated in Lee County.
The Florida Teacher Association has listed a call to action on their website for Governor Ron Desantis to release vaccines to teachers. The group states that the Center for Disease Control lists educators as essential workers.
"It makes me sad for those who want to get vaccinated but can't," says Fourth Grade teacher Jeannie Nowling. "I mean it's their choice, and the fact that teachers aren’t considered a priority is disturbing to me."
"It's more than teachers. Its social workers, bus drivers principals, everybody in the schools that we have access to the vaccine on the priority list like the CDC has recommended," says Kevin Daly, Lee County Teacher's Association.
This push for the vaccine follows Governor DeSantis' November press conference asking for more teachers and students to return to face-to-face learning. He says that many students are falling behind academically due to virtual learning.
"I know there are kids that learn better virtually but they are few and far between. I happen to have my same class from last year so we went through this whole pandemic together and they are doing so much better this year back in person with me," says Nowling.
The Lee County Teachers Association will be sending their concerns directly to Governor DeSantis.
"We're asking our members, teachers and support staff to reach out to the governor in Tallahassee to get him to move us back to the top of the list," says Daly.