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Will availability to the vaccine cause more teachers to return to in-person learning?

Posted at 9:00 AM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 09:00:07-05

FORT MYERS, Fla – Publix vaccine appointments booked up in minutes for Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties when the site reopened Wednesday morning. Teachers and school staff had priority to those time slots. Those who were able to successfully book will be able to get the Johnson & Johnson one-dose shot this weekend.

Fox 4 reached out to local school districts to see whether the availability to the vaccine means more educators plan to return to face-to-face learning.

The School District of Lee County responded , saying that's not the case. It added that with the number of students in Lee Virtual School and Lee Home Connect, it still needs those teachers in its virtual learning models. Right now, that's more than 15,600 students combined.

While it may not be driving a shift in those returning to campus, educators have been pushing to be prioritized since the vaccine became available. Many say even though they’re finally being prioritized, they’re running into challenges getting an appointment. They’re expressing concerns that they might not get the shot before Governor Ron Desantis announces more eligible groups, something he's said will happen this month.

“I think one concern I have is come May, I know President Biden would like to have them in the hands of anybody that wants one and that’s fabulous. My concern is do we make sure that all of the teachers have had the opportunity before we start opening up to other age gaps or age brackets,” asked Emily Carter, a teacher in Palm Beach County.

Available appointments in other counties are going fast. You can monitor and attempt to book an appointment here.