CDC standing firm that vaccinating teachers not required for safely reopening schools

CDC standing firm that vaccinating teachers not required for safely reopening schools

BOSTON — On Wednesday, the CDC stood firm and said that vaccinating teachers is “not a prerequisite” for safe school reopening.

Boston 25 News spoke to a local doctor who broke this down for us, and how the CDC is coming up with the same answers about teachers not needing to be vaccinated as a prerequisite for students to return to class. It’s something many teachers feel different about.

“I feel anxious going to work every day. And knowing the vaccine is there, and I don’t have access to it,” said Nishat Khan.

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Khan is a reading public school teacher who is afraid of bringing the virus home to her family, like other teachers are.

“I feel like every day that I go in is another risk I’m taking, and I feel it’s unnecessary,” said Khan.

She said she and her colleagues don’t agree with the latest CDC findings. Khan shared a photo with us, where windows are even left open at schools for better ventilation.

“In schools, you just don’t know. I don’t know what I’m walking into,” she said.

On Wednesday, the CDC said that vaccinating teachers is not required for safely reopening schools, and that it’s possible to return to in-person class. Colleen Quinn, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Department of Education, said that is “consistent with everything the Baker-Polito administration has recommended for school districts since the department issued the reopening guidance last summer.”

“There has been very little transmission in the schools that the majority of cases of transmission have come from the community,” said Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes, chief of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Dr. Kuritzkes said the data the CDC comes up with is based on nationwide results.

“As far as spacing children out, minimizing the times when children are without their mask,” said Kuritzkes.

And, this is the same data that Dr. Joseph Allen from Harvard University first shared with us back in mid-December.

“If you look at the underlying factors associated with all the high-profile outbreaks you’ve seen be it ice hockey, a choir practice restaurants, a school bus it doesn’t matter the underlying factor is time indoors, no mask and low to no ventilation,” said Allen.

“It doesn’t feel good to know that vaccines are available to so many people, and teachers got pushed down the list,” said Khan.

Khan said they are now wearing two masks in school. And, both doctors shared the same science: If you wear a mask, and take the precautions we’ve been hearing about for months, everyone should be safe, including inside schools.

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