SCS teachers are calling on Governor Lee to speed up vaccinations

SCS teachers want timeline on when they will receive the COVID-19 vaccine

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County teachers are saying they want to go back into the classroom, but not without getting vaccinated.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has been vocal about students returning to in-person learning, and now some Shelby County teachers are calling on him to make that possible.

”There’s no sight to when we’re going to be vaccinated, and if the governor can give us a definitive date when teachers in Shelby County will get vaccinated then we will jump right into the classroom,” said SCS faculty Deborah Atkins.

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”One, why don’t we have our vaccine? Two, we’re ready to go back we want to see our kids. I teach chemistry -- AP Chemistry. I’m having to do virtual experiments, you know how hard that is?” said SCS teacher, Arthur Scott.

Atkins and Scott are not alone. Dozens of SCS teachers have said they want to go back to in-person learning, but not without getting vaccinated.

Keith Williams is executive director of the Memphis Shelby County Education Association, which represents 4,000 SCS teachers.

He says it’s ludicrous of the governor to try and push educators back into the classroom.

”Can you imagine returning 100,000 children to the same schools they left?” said Williams.

As of now, teachers fall under phase 1b of the vaccination plan. Shelby County remains in phase 1a1 and 1a2 at this time.

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The Shelby County Health Department and the state health department have both said things are moving slower here because of Shelby County’s larger population.

Teachers WMC talked to say they understand that, but they feel more should be done to speed up the process.

”We do not want to move our priority, we want more vaccinations so that we reach 1B,” said SCS teacher Dr. Camille Collins.

SCHD says there is not yet a projected date when teachers will be vaccinated, but director Alisa Haushalter says the county is looking to begin in March.

In October 2020, SCS planned to return to the classroom in January 2021. School leaders made changes after coronavirus cases increased over the holidays.

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